HUMAN RIGHTS FESTIVAL
South Africa needs a national education strategy to tackle the school dropout crisis
School dropout rates have an impact on students, their families and communities, and on society as a whole. While everyone in South Africa is impacted by the phenomenon, everyone has the potential to be part of the solution. Education experts explored the strategies that can be employed to protect learners’ constitutionally guaranteed right to education at a panel discussion at the Constitution Hill Human Rights Festival on Saturday, 19 March.
Even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa was facing a crisis in the form of school dropout, with around four out of 10 learners who started school in grade one dropping out before reaching matric. The phenomenon has become normalised in many communities, the shrinking of classes between grades 8 and 12 an accepted reality.
This, said Rahima Essop, head of communications and advocacy for the Zero Dropout Campaign, is why it is important to make those learners who are disappearing from the schooling system visible. There is a need for discourse around the impact of dropout rates, not only on the student, their family and community, but on society as a whole.