The dropout rate has been highlighted as one of the biggest challenges in the education sector, which has now been intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is now forcing schools to take immediate action to bring learners back to the classroom. But it won’t be easy without a recommended early school leaving prevention plan to light the way.
On Tuesday, the Zero Dropout campaign launched its first Action Summit. The summit is a launching pad for change, offering a recommended dropout prevention plan and toolkits for all schools.
The nationally representative NIDS-CRAM survey revealed that an additional 500,000 learners are out of school compared to pre-pandemic figures. It is not known whether these are permanent dropouts or temporarily absent learners, but some researchers fear that the ripple effect of interrupted learning will be felt over the next 10 years.
The Action Summit is a free virtual event for schools and stakeholders in the basic education sector. The speakers are researchers and experts working with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
Zero Dropout Campaign Program Director Merle Mansfield said: “Many free schools – accounting for around 80% of schools nationwide – are hampered by resource constraints. To help guide these schools, and others, to effectively tackle dropping out of learners, we are launching good practice toolkits later this month. “
The Action Summit takes place at a time when school dropouts are the highest in 20 years, according to the researchers.
While many educators do their best to retain and re-engage learners using various tactics and strategies, Mansfield said that with a recommended course of action, these schools may be in a better position to achieve the following goals by the time. end of the year :
• Schools should ensure that every learner who was enrolled at the start of 2021 is counted
• Schools have up-to-date contact details for all registered learners and their primary tutors.
• Schools use dropout prevention tools to create support systems for their learners.