The Department of Basic Education could be faced with a record number of dropouts as some matric learners who enrolled at the beginning of the year did not complete the school year.
Basic Education spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga said the department is not yet certain of exactly how many learners did not complete the school year.
“There are many varying factors that could account for where they are...There was a lot of fear last year when we were planning to reopen schools after the forced closure. Some parents elected to keep their children at home, others applied for home education and others decided to enrol with online learning platforms.” said Mhlanga.
He said fear was a major factor for many parents, as they chose to keep their children at home as they did not trust the measures that would be put in place by the department.
Accurate figures for the dropout rate will only be available once schools reopen, as schools will be able to account for learners.
Part of the department’s plan is to not only make the dropout rate available for the public to see, but to also launch a campaign to get learners back to school.
Provincial education departments are currently planning what they will do to get learners back to school before they reopen.
Schools will reopen on February 15, as schools will continue to make use of a rotational timetable and online learning.
Despite online learning gaining popularity in 2020, researchers have found that it has not been effective for learners.
“Online learning has not been effective because it’s only about 27% of people who access it. Even in that number, not a lot are saying it’s beneficial so there are still challenges in that regard. It doesn’t close the gap as people seem to think. Even those learners who have access to it, they still say that they want to be inside a classroom where they will meet a teacher and interact with a teacher” said Mhlanga.