Gauteng’s Basic Education Department has confirmed that over 100 000 learners are no longer on its system.
The department says this cannot be entirely attributed to school dropouts.
This followed a call by the DA in the province for the department to probe what happened to these learners.
The department believes that some learners might have left the country or moved to other provinces.
According to the DA, out of 2.5 million learners that the department enrolled in 2021, only 2.3 million returned to school in the 2022 academic year in Grades 1 to 12.
Poverty, teenage pregnancy and lack of scholar transport could be some of the contributory factors for learners to drop out.
The DA’s Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, says this is concerning.
“Of the 110 381 learners who were lost in the system, 53 935 are of a school going age. This is concerning because it substantially impacts on the future of these learners because they will struggle to find long-term employment as they will lack the basic skills they will need in the workplace. We therefore propose that the department must have the mechanism in place to track learners who are lost in the system to ensure that no learner of school going age is deprived of education.”
This ten-year-old girl has not been to school since 2019.
This is after her family fled to Pretoria following a series of xenophobic attacks in parts of South Africa.
“I have been to school but I stopped at Grade 1. I have not been to school since 2019. I was at Kensington Ridge Primary School in Johannesburg. I feel bad about it I want to go to school.”
Department spokesperson Steve Mabona has confirmed that scores of learners have left the system.
“We can confirm that over 110 381 learners are no longer in our system. However, we cannot attribute this to dropping out of schools. Indeed, we are unsettled that they might have moved to other provinces or countries or even left the education system forever. It must be noted that our priority is to educate and make sure that we create a conducive environment for all learners in our schools.”
Hendrick Makaneta from Education for Social Justice says this is a cause for concern and must be attended to urgently.
“And I feel that government should find a way to track down these learners and integrate them back in the terrain of education, particularly those in lower than Grade 10 where the problem is dire, which is the Grade 10 crisis. Bring them back so that they also complete their schooling and get their matric certificates.”
According to the UN International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), about 250 000 school-going children drop out of school every year in South Africa.
UNICEF says this tripled to 750 000 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com