Forty per cent of Grade 1 pupils will not make it to matric

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This major failure of our education system is often hidden. (A. Martin/UW Photography/Getty Images)
This major failure of our education system is often hidden. (A. Martin/UW Photography/Getty Images)

The Zero Dropout Campaign is a national education initiative working in collaboration with local non-profit organisations to test models of intervention to prevent dropout. Their goal is to halve South Africa’s dropout rate by 2030. Below they provide facts about dropout in SA and share information resources aimed at parents, teachers and schools. 


Despite our success in enrolling children in primary school, we struggle to keep them in school until matric.

With so much attention on annual matric pass rates, this major failure of our education system is often hidden. And although we may not recognise it, school dropout affects us all.

illustrated poster

Dropout is a process of disengagement

The word 'dropout' often calls up images of lazy, irresponsible teens, who aren’t in school because of their own poor choices. But this is often not the case.

Despite what people might think, youth who drop out of school have often been very committed to their schooling but end up leaving the school system after years of struggle.

To effectively respond to drop out, we must understand both the factors that push young people out of school and the factors pulling them away.

ALSO READ | Inclusivity a key focus for the future of education in South Africa

The role of a caring adult

Falling behind in school is one of the strongest predictors of dropout: learners who repeat grades are much more likely to drop out. It’s important to keep learners on track throughout their school careers and to start strong in the first few years.

Caregivers can support their children by interacting regularly and positively with their school and its teachers.

They should also feel empowered to confront the challenges their children are facing at school, advocating for learners to be supported and protected.

Raising awareness 

To raise awareness about dropout and spur action towards addressing it, local NPO Zero Dropout has developed a series of illustrated and free to share posters directed at parents, caregivers and learners. 

These free posters (see below) aim to help parents and caregivers to understand their important role in supporting their child’s learning journey, regardless of their level of formal education.

Published originally on Zerodropout.co.za

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