Creecy: Dropouts are lost human capital

2012-03-09 13:06

Johannesburg - A child who left school early was human capital that was lost to the country and the economy, Gauteng education MEC Barbara Creecy said on Friday.

About 35% of children who started school now failed to finish, she said.

This was dramatically more than 1994 where the completion rate for those who enrolled 12 years earlier was 29%.

“While we can be happy that we have made strides, 35% are lost to the system that we are not adequately understanding and addressing,” Creecy said.

‘Surplus of unskilled in our country’

They could not be written off but alternative ways needed to be found to ensure they continued with their education, she said.

“Although the reasons for learners dropping out of school vary, the consequences are the same,” Creecy said.

“They add to the group of unskilled and semi-skilled in our country which is already in surplus.”

The MEC was addressing the Gauteng education department’s 4th monitoring and evaluation colloquium underway at the Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg.

Teachers, academics and civic organisations were meeting to find ways to stop children leaving school prematurely.

Children who left school early tended towards crime, were often unemployed and suffered more poor health issues, she said.

The most common exit points for dropouts in Gauteng were at Grade 10 and 12. The full impact of failing to finish school had yet to be researched.

Why are pupils dropping out?

While Gauteng was performing better than other provinces, what was not fully understood was who the pupils were who were leaving the system and why they were leaving the system.

“Have we managed to keep more African children?” she asked.

“What proportion of the learners who leave have a pass that enables them to move on?”

Of major concern was that many of the children leaving the system could have and should have completed school.

Some children left school for curricular reasons as they battled and repeatedly failed. In these instances there had to be alternatives where they could have training that would enable them to continue productively.

A second group left school for “community or domestic reasons”.

They left to find a job to support their family, to look after siblings, to look after their own children or because they were pregnant.


There were also drop-outs who stayed at school but who had disengaged with the system and were disruptive.

Others repeatedly failed but kept trying and in some cases eventually passed through the system.

Creecy said she wanted to find better solutions to deal with pupils who were not flowing through school and who needed a different type of education.

A more career-based learning with business involvement was an option.

“We need to identify preventative programmes that can help us to keep these children in education.

“We need to arm teachers, school managers and parents with an early warning system - based on historical data attendance, achievement or age so steps can be taken to keep learners or give them a workable alternative.”

The colloquium was continuing.

  • Pythagoras - 2012-03-09 13:16

    And then you want to know why half of you can't spell!

      Grimett - 2012-03-09 13:24

      Drop-outs will survive,they just have to know who to vote for,and know how to toyi-toyi, why invest in education when i can protest for better wages.

  • lance.trent.kilkenny - 2012-03-09 13:24

    not to the ANC, a dropout is a future voter... if one looks at the general characteristics of a staunch ANC supporter.

  • jansen.shane - 2012-03-09 13:28

    Pathetic..I dropped out of school in Grade 9 due to circumstances beyond my control..yet my tax is more than what some people earn,whether you vote ANC or DA, we create our own destiny.

      Shihaam - 2012-03-09 15:37

      Not all so lucky hey... but well done to you reallly!!!!

  • Shihaam - 2012-03-09 13:29

    well alot of drop outs struggle at school and our goverment is not doing a thing for kids that struggles, yes they get placed in special schools but after that what happens to them??? its actually so frustrating jst thinking about this!!!!

  • betsy.compaan - 2012-03-09 13:58

    Thanks Barbara Creecy but I for one would NOT like to be referred to as Human Capital and there are a lot of us that wish that we can’t be misused as “Human Capital” any longer because you are increasing the pressure by failing at your “job” that you get PAID to do.

  • JohanLombard - 2012-03-09 13:59

    She is right, but now to focus on educating the youth.

  • Koos - 2012-03-09 14:04

    Economic freedom before education? .. or drop out and become president .. .. or drop out and get a job (Note: not work) in government .. .. or drop out and become a tenderneur .. .. or drop out and get social grants .. .. or drop out and become a criminal .. .. or all of the above ... Become an ANC politician/Voter. WHO NEDS A EDIKATIEN!

  • Pieter Erasmus - 2012-03-09 14:25

    i think she is talking about julius..

  • Bill - 2012-03-09 14:53

    So what are you going to do? Lower the standards even further so that even more illiterates can say they have a university pass and demand admittance to higher education. Our country desperately needs people with "tradesmen" skills, plumbers, electricians, fitters, turners, mechanics and all the other technical people that make the world work, yet we have an almost total disregard for this aspect of education as we seek to force up the academic pass rate by constantly lowering standards.

      Shihaam - 2012-03-09 15:31

      Bill u so right hey and like i said in my reply about kids that struggles at school and get placed in technical schools right, but when they done there after 4yrs it's not even equavalant to nothing so what's the use????

  • Gerhard - 2012-03-09 15:59

    There is no incentive for anyone to stay the course because they will not find a job thanks to the ANC and Cosatu.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-03-09 17:42

    "Dropouts are lost human capital" They often accrue more interest than the capital

  • Adam - 2012-03-09 22:04

    Take grade 00 to Grade 7, if you dont excel (IE cannot get 30%) for maths, the sciences or languarges, move to a technical school from Grade 8 to 12 and learn a trade. Wait, I think we did away with these schools?

  • Den - 2012-03-14 15:30

    sorry but have you ever tried to employ some of this capital, very soon turns to a liabilty

  • Dexter - 2012-03-23 08:05

    Ja and the ANC will continue to take my tax money to look after these losers.

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