Concerns Raised Over High Dropout Rate In Schools

The South African National Youth Development Agency has raised concerns regarding the high dropout rate of children in schools, particularly those in poorer areas.

The South African National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Committee held a meeting in which they highlighted the high dropout rate of children at schools around the country.

Stats SA’s General Household Survey found that around 3% of 15-year-olds and nearly 9% of 17-year-olds dropped out of school. However, most 18 and 19-year-olds are still attending secondary school.

Independent education analyst Hendrick Makaneta says that most of the 18-year-olds who have dropped out do so at the Grade 10 level. He calls this the “Grade 10 crisis” and says that most of these learners drop out because they struggle with their studies.

The NYDA committee is particularly concerned about the number of girls in poorer communities who are dropping out.

The NYDA board says that it is has been working with the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities (DWYPD) to ensure that during outreach visits, community members were encouraged to work together in efforts to keep children at school.

The government intends to reduce dropout rates through proposed changes to the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA Bill).

They proposed a law that would place an obligation on educators, principals, and school governing bodies to track learners who stay absent in order to prevent them from dropping out.

According to the Executive Chairperson of the NYDA, Ms Luwaca, ‘Back To School’ campaigns made sure to engage young girls on issues such as teenage pregnancy which has contributed to many young girls dropping out of school.

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Through this campaign, the NYDA noted that many cases of statutory rape go unreported and that this matter needed to be dealt with. The agency involved the police to protect witnesses, in cases where some teachers were scared of the consequences of reporting their colleagues.

The NYDA says that it engaged with provincial departments and municipalities, with the assistance of the Department of Health to create ongoing and sustainable programmes to tackle these issues.

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