EDITORIAL | At-risk pupils deserve a much better shot at success


EDITORIAL | At-risk pupils deserve a much better shot at success

There are many examples of initiatives helping dropouts amid numerous setbacks and budget cuts. These need to be cloned


In July, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said about 30% of registered matriculants had not returned to school after the hard lockdown. “We can’t account for almost 30% of Grade 12 learners who are not attending school in Gauteng,” he said, adding that large percentages of grades 6, 7 and 11 had also not returned to school.

Fast-forward to September and the situation does not seem to have improved much. The basic education department told parliament it estimated about 23,000 matriculants had dropped out, according to an SABC report.

As matrics sat down for their crucial year-end exams this week, research appeared in PLOS One (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0240690) revealing alarming rates of alcohol abuse among school dropouts. Boredom during free time and being with friends contributed to alcohol and tobacco use. Out of the 41 youngsters surveyed, 72% smoked and 56% drank alcohol...

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