8 reasons why kids drop out of school in South Africa

All South Africans have a right to basic education and the Bill of Rights obliges government to progressively make education available and accessible through reasonable measures.

A new survey conducted by Stats SA from January to December 2014 shows the top reasons why children either dropped out of, or did not attend an education institution.

According to key findings from StatsSA’s General Household Survey (GHS), in 2014, 33,4% of individuals aged 5 years and older attended an educational institution.

Nationally, approximately 87% of individuals above the age of five years who attended educational institutions, attended school, while a further 4.9% attended tertiary

By comparison, only 2.5% of individuals attended further education and training (FET) colleges, StatsSA said.

The survey found that there were approximately 14 million learners at school in 2014, while 783,545 students were enrolled at higher education institutions -universities and universities of technology – in 2014.

Type of institution attended
Type of institution attended – click to enlarge

Reasons why kids drop out

Nearly a quarter (23.5%) of learners cited a lack of money as the main reason for not attending an educational institution while 17.7% reportedly fell out due to poor academic performance.

Although 11.6% of individuals left their studies as a result of family commitments – getting married, minding children and pregnancy – it is noticeable that females were much more likely to offer this as a reasons than males.

Approximately 10% of individuals reported that education was useless.

The top reasons why kids aged 7 to 18 drop out or do not attend school are:

  1. No money for school fees – 23.5%
  2. Cannot perform academically at school – 17.7%
  3. Have too many family commitments – 11.6%
  4. Suffer from illness and/or disability – 10.4%
  5. See education as being useless – 9.4%
  6. Completed education to the level they wanted – 7.8%
  7. Working at home – 6.7%
  8. Struggle getting to school – 0.5%

12.3% of individuals cited other, unspecified reasons.

Reasons for not attending
Reasons for not attending – click to enlarge

Nationally, a lack of books and high fees were singled out as the most important problems experienced by learners in public schools, followed by large classes and bad facilities, the study found.

Nature of problems experienced
Nature of problems experienced – click to enlarge

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8 reasons why kids drop out of school in South Africa