...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
Gauteng’s Basic Education Department has confirmed that over 100,000 learners are no longer registered in its system, with the cause not entirely attributed to school dropouts.
The department believes that some learners may have left the country or moved to other provinces.
The Democratic Alliance in the province has called on the department to investigate what happened to these learners.
Poverty, teenage pregnancy, and lack of scholar transport could be contributory factors for learners dropping out.
The DA’s Gauteng Shadow MEC for Education, Khume Ramulifho, believes that the department should track learners who are lost in the system to ensure that no school-age learner is deprived of education.
Impact on Learners and Urgency of the Issue
The loss of over 100,000 learners from the education system is concerning, as it may impact their future employability, according to Ramulifho.
This is particularly true for the 53,935 learners who are of school-going age.
The issue of missing learners affects individuals like a 10-year-old girl from Pretoria, who has not been to school since 2019 after her family fled following xenophobic attacks in some parts of South Africa.
Hendrick Makaneta from Education for Social Justice sees this as a cause for concern that must be addressed urgently.
Learner Dropout Rates in South Africa
According to UNICEF, 250,000 learners drop out of school every year in South Africa, with the number rapidly increasing to 750,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reasons behind the high dropout rates include poverty, teenage pregnancy, and lack of access to scholar transport.
In summary, the issue of over 100,000 missing learners from Gauteng’s education system is a matter of concern.
While some learners may have left the country or moved to other provinces, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and lack of access to scholar transport could be contributory factors.
The DA and other organizations are urging the department to track missing learners to ensure that no school-age learner is deprived of education.
The high dropout rates in South Africa highlight the need for greater attention to be paid to addressing the underlying issues.