Covid drives high school dropout rate

Data from the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (or NIDS-CRAM to its friends) reveals that up to 750 000 pupils have dropped out of the formal schooling system since the pandemic began. Researchers say that’s nearly three times the country’s already-high school dropout rate. 😔 The harrowing figure is another clear sign of the deep inequality that prevails in SA: most simply can’t afford or even access the digital platforms that have become the norm for teaching and learning.

In other education-related news, the Department of Education is facing (yet another) lawsuit. The Daily Maverick reported that civil society organisations say the department has not complied with a July 2020 judgment compelling it to urgently reinstate the National School Nutrition Programme. The programme, which keeps millions of young tummies full, was suspended during the hard lockdown in March 2020. It’s galling that civil society and the courts have to keep getting involved when the issue at hand is simple: kids need warm, nutritious food and authorities have committed to providing just that. Step up, government!   

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 July 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.