-North West records 80 school dropouts in a single term
-2, 631 pre-school learners unable to return
At least 80 learners dropped out of school in the North West District during the first term of the school calendar, which ran from January to March.
The District Council Chairperson, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho confirmed this week that of the 80 dropouts, 16 were girls who had fallen pregnant.
“We have experienced a high rate of learner dropouts at all levels where at primary 26 dropped out, junior secondary 37 and 17 learners at senior secondary school,” revealed Ntsogotho.
According to the Regional Education Office, the 16 pregnancies include both primary and secondary school pupils.
Speaking to Okavango Voice this week, Director for Regional Operations in the Education Division, Veronicah Tebogo Letlhare explained that generally students in the North West drop out because ‘they just don’t enjoy school’.
“Some have not returned to class due to various reasons, including illness and other social issues,” added Letlhare.
Many students in this part of the country get separated from parents at a young age, sent to boarding schools located far from their homes and family members. Letlhare believes this reduces interest in schooling among some of the learners.
“But we do try to make school interesting as much as we can with hope that they will stay and complete their education,” stressed the Director.
According to the country’s education policy, if a learner misses 30 uninterrupted days of school, they are declared to have missed out on too much education content and therefore are removed from the school register.
However, the following year such a student is allowed to retake the class.
“We take it that such a particular learner would not have completed a grade and we absorb them back into class the following year. The same thing applies to students who drop out due to pregnancy, we always arrange for them to come back to class,” said Letlhare.
The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic is said to have further affected the entire learning and teaching process in the region, resulting in low coverage of the syllabus across all subjects at all education levels.
Furthermore, due to social distancing regulations as a precautionary measure against the spread of Coronavirus, class sizes were reduced in the majority of North West schools, causing 36 schools to run a ‘double-shift programme’.
Meanwhile, just 334 pre-school learners have returned to school out of 2, 631 who were enrolled before the April lockdown.
This, according to the council, is because out of the 79 early childhood care and education centers in the district, just 18 have complied with Covid-19 regulations and hence have re-opened while the rest remain closed.