Last week, the Minister of Basic Education revealed that more than 150 000 learners have not yet returned to school. What's even more worrying is that this figure does not include two of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga revealed that more than 50 000 learners did not return to primary school while more than 108 660 high school pupils did not return to school this year.
South African Union For Students President Yandisa Lubabalo believes this problem is most prevalent in public schools.
Lubabali says that conditions in school and the conditions the learners' experience when they are at home are contributing to the high dropout rate. He adds that lack of support by the government can also sometimes contribute to the dropout rate.
He adds that the lack of government support is demonstrated by them knowing how many students have not returned to schools but not getting them back in the classroom.
“We must go and find these young people and make sure that they are back in the classroom and they should be doing what they're supposed to be doing not be out there in the streets” concluded Lubabalo.
Riaan van der Bergh from the Federation of Associations of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) does believe that learners will begin to return to schools with the department of education moving to full-time learning.
Van der Bergh says that FEDSAS wants the department to create extra capacity in terms of infrastructure. This, as many classrooms in the country have above 40 learners per classroom.
Education Expert, Brahm Fleisch says that even if learners do return to school, they will have learning deficits if they have not had substantial and consistent schooling.
It is estimated that learners lost out on up to 50% of teaching time over the last two years.