2005: Black Failure: S.Africa: Half of SA pupils do not reach matric

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About half of all South African children drop out of school before they reach Grade 12.

The Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (Acess), a grouping of children’s rights organisations, disclosed these shocking findings during the second day of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism Joint Ad-hoc Committee on Socio-Economic Development public hearings in Johannesburg earlier this week.

Acess said the drop out process intensified especially in the age bracket of those between 14 and 18.

‘Hunger prevents consistent attendance and performance’
Acess project co-ordinators Albert Dlwengu and Karen Allan said for every 100 children starting grade one, only 52 reached Grade 12.

Acess Education Project co-ordinator Sharon September said South Africa had 1,2-million children of school-going age not attending school and 40,000 others at school on a part-time basis.

“Our international obligations are not being met,” she said. September said there was irregular attendance at school by “children working on farms” or those who have adverse family circumstances, street children and children with disabilities.

She painted a bleak picture of school children who were too poor to afford school fees, the cost of transport and uniforms.

“And for those who are able to attend, hunger prevents consistent attendance and performance.”September said the current reform programme had a skewed emphasis on the fees barrier.

“Generally, there is no holistic programme of action to address the other barriers such as access to affordable transport, discrimination because of health status … and ill-health.”

This article was originally published on page 9 of The Star on November 10, 2005

Source: Independent Online (IOL)
URL: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click

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