Zero Dropout Schools Initiative

Finding ways to help more learners make it through school

 

Despite South Africa’s large investment in basic education, about 40% of Grade 1 learners will exit the South African schooling system before reaching Grade 12.

Most of them will remain stuck in poverty and unemployment for life.

Zero Dropout Schools

Most of them will remain stuck in poverty and unemployment for life.

What

The Zero Dropout Schools initiative aims to halve the rate of school dropout by 2030.

Specifically, the initiative aims to:

  • Increase national awareness of the problem of school dropout and spur action towards addressing it;
  • Identify and demonstrate what it takes to help children make it through school; and
  • Mobilise a network of schools that are committed to achieving the goal of zero dropout.
Lance-Caleb
Lance-Caleb

Here we tell the story of Lance-Caleb van Eyslend. He is 17 years old and has completed Grade 9. He no longer attends school.

Lance: “My soccer skills give me hope. I believe that I am going to become the next soccer star in the world. That’s what motivates me every day; that’s what gets me out of bed – knowing that one day I’ll make it on the big stage and make my family proud.”

Why

Close to half of all young people in South Africa don’t obtain a matric qualification, also known as the National Senior Certificate (NSC).[1]Spaull, N. 2015. Schooling in South Africa: How Low-quality Education Becomes a Poverty Trap. South African Child Gauge 2015. Access here For every 100 learners who start Grade 1 together, about 40 drop out of the school system before reaching Grade 12.[2]Gustafsson, M. 2011. The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa. Access here. This takes into consideration grade repetition, which is high in South Africa.

Of  the 60 learners who do make it to Grade 12 to write the matric exam, typically about 20 of them will fail.[3]Van den Berg, S, & Gustafsson, M. 2017. Quality of basic education: A report to Working Group 1 of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation. ReSEP, Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch. Access here. Some learners will attempt the exam again over the course of their lives,[4]Gustafsson, 2011. and will eventually obtain their matric qualification. But in general, depending on the dataset you use, only about 40-50% of South Africans have a matric certificate, or the equivalent of a NQF4 qualification.

Read more: Prof. Nic Spaull from Stellenbosch University explains the 2017 matric results and throughput rates in an article published in the Sunday Times on 14 January 2018. Read it here.

As it is legal for South African learners to leave school at the end of Grade 9, low levels of retention would be less concerning if learners continued their education through other channels, or if they entered employment – but the majority do not.[5]Ibid.,[6]Moses, E., Van Der Berg, S., & Rich, K. 2017. A society divided: How Unequal Education Quality Limits Social Mobility in South Africa. A Synthesis Report for the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD). Access here. Only 1% of learners who drop out of school hold some other non-school certificate or diploma issued by, for instance, a TVET college.[7]Gustafsson, 2011.

We only start to see a return on investment in education – as is indicated by a young person’s chances of finding employment and level of earnings – once matric has been completed. For example, you are 8% more likely to find employment if you have a matric certificate, and individuals with matric earn on average 39% more than those who don’t have matric.[8]Van den Berg, S, & Gustafsson, M. 2017. Quality of basic education: A report to Working Group 1 of the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation. ReSEP, Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch. Access here. Employment prospects increase significantly with a post-school qualification, including that of a diploma.[9]Ibid. To be eligible to obtain a diploma, however, a matric qualification is a minimum requirement for many Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college programmes. Without a matric certificate, the prospects of further education and training, and in turn employment opportunities, are therefore significantly limited.

Grade Repetition
Fifty-two percent (52%) of learners have repeated a grade, and 9% of Grade 12 learners have repeated a grade three times or more. Repetition is highest for Grade 10 (which 23% of learners repeated in 2015) and Grade 1 (which 15% of learners repeated in 2015). [10]Weybright E.H., Caldwell, L.L, Xie, H., Wegner, L. & Smith, E.A. 2017. Predicting secondary school dropout among South African adolescents: A survival analysis approach. South African Journal of Education, 37(2). Access it here.

School remains the most feasible and accessible route to an education for South Africans and, for now, passing matric is still the gateway to further education and training – and access into the labour market.

NEETs
A third (32%) of 15- to 24-year-olds are neither employed nor receiving education or training of any kind (NEET).[11]
STATS SA. 2018. Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Quarter 1: 2018. Access it here.

With no qualifications, young people are poorly prepared for the Labour market and are likely to remain stuck in poverty and unemployment. Young people make up the majority (64%) of all unemployed people in South Africa.[12]Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Quarter 1: 2018. Access it here While it is true that youth unemployment is a problem worldwide, in order to appreciate why this situation is particularly problematic in South Africa, one needs to keep in mind that demographically a very large proportion of South Africa’s total population are young people. In fact, one in every three South Africans is between 15 and 34 years old.[13]STATS SA. 2016. Vulnerable Groups Series I: The Social Profile of the Youth, 2009‐2014. Access it here. 

Besides the loss of human potential, this situation perpetuates inequality, with an economy in which more than half of the population cannot participate, leaving them largely dependent on social grants and pension funds. Given the intergenerational impact of low educational attainment, it is likely that the children of these generations will find themselves in a similar position. If we don’t act now, we are creating a society that won’t be able to support itself, let alone thrive.

Read more: Schooling in South Africa: How low-quality education becomes a poverty trap, by Prof. Nic Spaull, in the South African Child Gauge 2015 (Children’s Institute, UCT)

Lance: “We’re in Bonteheuwel. It’s very corrupt and there’s a lot of gangsterism. Children get indoctrinated by the wrong people. They throw their lives away for nothing and get themselves killed. I don’t know why they do it, though. I wouldn’t do it. I think it’s stupid. I try to avoid it, because there’s nothing in it for me. I would just be putting myself on the playing field to get killed. I don’t want to do that. I want to do more with my life than just become a gangster and stand on corners and play dice for money.”

Lance lives in the house in the middle with the black gate. Read more about life in Bonteheuwel here.

Lance: “We’re in Bonteheuwel. It’s very corrupt and there’s a lot of gangsterism. Children get indoctrinated by the wrong people. They throw their lives away for nothing and get themselves killed. I don’t know why they do it, though. I wouldn’t do it. I think it’s stupid. I try to avoid it, because there’s nothing in it for me. I would just be putting myself on the playing field to get killed. I don’t want to do that. I want to do more with my life than just become a gangster and stand on corners and play dice for money.”

Lance lives in the house in the middle with the black gate. Read more about life in Bonteheuwel here.

A deep dive into the numbers below the surface of the matric results –
the story of the 2005 cohort:[14]Passmark.org.za/schools/

In 2005, just over 1.2 million children started their school careers in Grade 1. Six years later, in 2011, those children should have been in Grade 7 – their last year of primary school. But, one in four of them didn’t make it to Grade 7 in 2011. The biggest drop – more than 150 000 learners – was between Grade 1 and 2.

When the class of 2005 started high school (Grade 8) in 2012, their ranks had swollen by an extra 23 500 learners. These children were most likely repeaters – children who had failed Grade 8 the previous year and were doing it again.

Research has shown that about one in three children has to repeat a grade at school.[15]Social Surveys and Centre for Applied Legal Studies. 2010. Grade repetition in South Africa: facts, figures and possible interventions. Access it here The highest number of repeaters are in high school, with repetition peaking in Grade 10 – about one in four learners is likely to be repeating Grade 10.

It is compulsory for learners to stay in school until the age of 15, which means they should finish Grade 9. Roughly one in 10 learners drop out of school after finishing Grade 9, although not necessarily at the age of 15. There are a high number of repeaters. One in 10 South African children will have repeated a grade at least three times.

After Grade 10, the numbers drop sharply. By 2016, the Grade 1s of 2005 should have made it to Grade 12. But what started off as 1.2 million children has now shrunk to just over 650 000, which means that 45% of the class didn’t make it to Grade 12 within 12 years.
Of those who did make it, one in every three in the grade failed the national senior certificate exams.

And only one in every four who wrote the Grade 12 exams in 2016 got a university pass.

Many of the learners who don’t make it through to Grade 12 within 12 years will still reach, and pass, matric a few years later. Research shows that about half of South Africans successfully complete Grade 12, but some are in their late 20s when they write their exams. For example, in 2017, about half the people who wrote their exams were older than 18.

 

“I started at Belgravia High, which was a nice school for me, because I met different people there. I got sports that you wouldn’t normally get at your average Bonteheuwel school, like tennis, hockey and golf. That was really fun for me. My downfall was that I started selling drugs when I was 15 at my school. For some reason I thought it was cool to sell drugs there, because I saw my friends doing it and it seemed like a good way to make some money. That’s how I got expelled from the school.

A couple of months later, when the new year started, my mom enrolled me at Bonteheuwel High. I thought it was going to be better, but turns out I was wrong. It was the worst decision of my life, because I wouldn’t call that a school. I would call it a zoo, because people don’t pay attention in class. They run up and down the corridors and bunk school and smoke at school. There’s always trouble with gangsters at the school. Children stab each other and fight with the teachers especially. I dropped out when I got there, because I saw that it was not a learning environment.”

“I decided to leave, because my report card kept coming in and I was getting 1s and 0s and that’s not me, because I was usually a top student. But since there were so many things distracting me, I couldn’t learn, so I decided to drop out. I told my parents “This school is not for me. I’m so sorry to do this to you guys again, but I’m going to have to dropout.”

I regret that decision every day of my life. Every day I wake up and it’s the same thing: rap, smoke, play soccer, repeat. I regret it because I won’t have that opportunity again.”

Lance-Caleb

How

“The rudest awakening from last year emerged after we did our analysis and tried to put down a baseline for our interventions. We realised that students dropping out of school was no longer an exception to the rule. It was the norm.”

Ilze Olivier from the Community Action Partnership

There is no single risk factor that can accurately predict which learners are at risk of dropping out.[16]Hammond, C., D. Linton, J. Smink and S. Drew. 2007. Dropout Risk Factors and Exemplary Programmes: A Technical Report. National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University and Communities In Schools, Inc. Access it here. There is general consensus among researchers that dropout should not be understood as a single event, but rather the result of a long process of disengagement – a cumulative, multidimensional process caused by the convergence of a number of factors over time.[17]Branson. M., C. Hofmeyr, and D. Lam. 2013. Progress through School and the Determinants of School Dropout in South Africa. SALDRU Working Paper 100. Access it here.,[18]De Witte, K., S. Cabus, G. Thyssen, W. Groot, and H.M. van den Brink. 2013. A Critical Review of the Literature on School Dropout. Tier Working Paper Series: Tier WP 14/14. Access it here. Some of the key factors are:

  • Little or no adult support
    Many learners do not have adequate adult support in their lives. Some live with parents who work long hours or are substance abusers; they may live with relatives who are already burdened with additional childcare duties. In rural areas, child-headed households are common. These children receive little or no encouragement, support, and care – fundamental requirements for a child to thrive.
  • Lagging behind academically
    Inadequate early childhood development opportunities result in many children being unprepared for school when they enter the system.[19]Hall, K., Sambu, W., Berry L., Giese, S., and Almeleh, C. 2017. South African Early Childhood Review 2017. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town and Ilifa Labantwana. Access it here. This is followed by poor teaching in the foundational phase,[20]Spaull, N. & Kotze, J. 2015. Starting behind and staying behind in South Africa: The case of insurmountable learning deficits in mathematics. International Journal of Educational Development 41 (2015) 13–24. Access it here.,[21]SAHRC and UNICEF. 2014. Poverty traps and social exclusion among children in South Africa. Pretoria: SAHRC. Access it here. and the compulsory switch from home language to English instruction in Grade 4.[22]Spaull. N. 2016. Learning to read and reading to learn. A RESEP Policy Brief. University of Stellenbosch. Access it here. This causes many learners to lag behind academically, and they continue to fall further behind with each passing year, until they can no longer cope. This is compounded by large class sizes, underqualified and/or absent teachers, and the inordinate value placed on assessments and getting through the curriculum, regardless of learning outcomes. In the context of the national progression policy,[23]Department of Basic Education. 2017. Basic Education on policy on progression and policy on multiple examination opportunity. Access it here. stipulating that no child can repeat a grade more than once per phase, without the required remediation support, learners are pushed through without grasping the curriculum. Naturally, lagging behind leads to feelings of low self-esteem, dejection, and frustration.
  • An unimaginative, uninspiring, irrelevant curriculum[24]De Witte et. al 2013.
    In quintile 1-3 schools, lessons are often dull and hold little relevance to learners’ realities. The curriculum focuses on pumping learners with information rather than stimulating curiosity, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.
  • School culture
    Bullying,[25]National Center for Education Statistics. 2015. Trends in international mathematics and science study (TIMSS). Institute of Education Sciences. Access it here. Read a quick summary of South Africa’s bullying statistics reported in the TIMSS 2015 here. sexual violence,[26]Burton, P. & Leoschut, L. 2013. School violence in South Africa: Results of the 2012 National School Violence Study. Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP). Access it here. and despite it being illegal, corporal punishment[27]South African Council for Educators 2017. Annual report 2015-2016. Access it here. For a news analysis on the issue, see: Makwetla, A. 2018. Corporal punishment feeds the violence in society. Mail & Guardian, 26 April 2018. Access it here. (including verbal abuse) are prevalent in South African schools. This affects the emotional health of the learner, leading to stress, anxiety and fear, which decreases their ability to concentrate and learn.
  • Socio-economic factors
    Hunger and toxic stress caused by violence and abuse in the home or in the community,[28]Jamieson L, Berry L & Lake L. 2017. South African Child Gauge 2017. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, UCT.  Access the poster summary here.,[29]Richter, L. M., Mathews, S., Kagura, J., Nonterah, E. 2018. A longitudinal perspective on violence in the lives of South African children from the Birth to Twenty Plus cohort study in Johannesburg-Soweto. The South African Medial Journal  Vol 108 (3).  Access it here. which are more prevalent in impoverished communities, have adverse effects on a child’s brain development and therefore their ability to learn.
  • Teenage pregnancy
    Teenage pregnancy accounts for 33% of dropout among female learners.[30]Spaull, N. 2015. Schooling in South Africa: How Low-quality Education Becomes a Poverty Trap. South African Child Gauge 2015. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, UCT. Access it here. While it is against government policy to exclude pregnant learners from school, many schools have continued to discriminate against those who become pregnant. Even where schools support pregnant learners and welcome young mothers back, other problems such as family, community or peer stigma, breastfeeding and other childcare responsibilities, as well as lost learning time among other things, may cause dropout.[31]Mnguni, I.B. 2014. Investigating the Causes of Learner Dropout at Secondary Schools in Johannesburg South, Gauteng. Unpublished Master of Education thesis submitted to the University of South Africa. Access it here.

The ‘decision’ to leave school is the culmination of some or all of these factors – it’s the moment when all the things that weigh a learner down finally force them to sink.

Read more: Click here to read a comprehensive literature review by Dr Andrew Hartnack exploring the many causes of school dropout, which cut across individual, family, school and policy levels.

Read more: What it’s really like to be at school in South Africa? by Head of the Zero Dropout Schools Initiative, Chiara Baumann (First published in the Daily Maverick on 25 June, 2018.

“Most of the time I think will we be stuck here forever… Society will draw us into the dangers of the world, like gangsterism. Will we be part of it or will we be the ones that get away? That’s the question we all ask ourselves. What will we be in 10 years from now? Will we still all be together? Or will we lose one to the system?”

Lance and his friend Preston Earl Lombord, who dropped out of school in Grade 11.

“Most of the time I think will we be stuck here forever… Society will draw us into the dangers of the world, like gangsterism. Will we be part of it or will we be the ones that get away? That’s the question we all ask ourselves. What will we be in 10 years from now? Will we still all be together? Or will we lose one to the system?”

Lance and his friend Preston Earl Lombord, who dropped out of school in Grade 11.

The first step towards addressing school dropout is to prioritise it as a national problem. However, the fact that so many children leave school without any qualification, is not yet firmly acknowledged by all levels of government to be a problem,[32]Equal Education. 2017. Matric result an indicator of primary schooling in crisis. Access it here. and as a result, there are no specific systems or policies in place to address it.

If we are serious about transformation in South Africa, it is critical to change the perception that school dropout is normal and show what it takes to develop effective initiatives to keep children in school – and to put the issue on the national agenda.

Once we have acknowledged the problem, it is key to establish systems that identify the signs of disengagement and demoralisation early on as these accumulate exponentially every year. This is largely due to the extraneous forces, such as those listed above, that start to solidify from around Grade 5 onwards – the forces that push learners out of the system.

Thirdly, to ensure that children and youth stay on track, the whole way through to the end of Grade 12, we need to have interventions every step of the way. At no point should we reach a no-hope viewpoint. It gets more difficult to affect change as a child gets older, but there are still benefits. Learners sitting on the fence need to be kept in school. We need to shift the default from dropout, to stay in. There are too many factors that push children out, and not enough that support them to stay in.

Indicators that denote risk of disengagement

  • High age/ grade ratio / repeat learners
  • Poor attendance
  • Academic performance
  • Behavioural issues
  • Disability

Read more: Leaving no child behind: The road to Zero School Dropout. An interview with DGMT CEO, Dr David Harrison.

“We try to find a way to get out of this trap that we call home. We call this community The Trap, because if you live here forever, you got caught in the trap. It got the best of you. You didn’t persevere or try to get out of it. You just became part of the system. There are so many murders around us, that we have to be aware of what might happen in the future and we need to prevent it by any means necessary.”

Lance, Aiden and Preston are passionate rappers, they spend their days smoking weed, playing soccer and making rap songs.

“We try to find a way to get out of this trap that we call home. We call this community The Trap, because if you live here forever, you got caught in the trap. It got the best of you. You didn’t persevere or try to get out of it. You just became part of the system. There are so many murders around us, that we have to be aware of what might happen in the future and we need to prevent it by any means necessary.”

Lance, Aiden and Preston are passionate rappers, they spend their days smoking weed, playing soccer and making rap songs.

The Zero Dropout Schools Initiative is continuously learning and developing in a quest to find the best ways of doing what is described above. We have been approaching the work from four angles:

1

Understand and experiment with models of intervention, at the local level, to prevent dropout

From this angle we continue to learn and understand how complex school dropout is, and to explore what works at a school level to prevent children from being pushed out of the school system. To do this, we have partnered with six non-profit organisations that are working across 55 schools to study the nature of school dropout, and to develop effective strategies to help children make it through school.

Implementing partners
Our partners are the pioneers who are showing what is possible to tackle school dropout: 

Bottmup Bottomup: Using an approach that equips young people to understand the drivers that lead their peers to drop out of school and address these collectively at a school level.
bottomup.org.za
CAP Community Action Partnership: An initiative that mobilises the community of Swellendam to tackle school dropout as a collective.
capnpc.co.za
Khula Development Group Khula Development Group: Creating opportunities for psychosocial support and academic catch-up in schools.
khuladg.co.za
Masibumbane Development Organisation Masibumbane Development Organisation: Using early warning systems to support and respond to young people at risk of dropping out.
masibumbanedevelopment.org.za
SAILI SAILI: Training district staff to use school data to affect change within schools.
saili.org.za 
NACCW The National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW): Using Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) at schools to provide lower-cost psychosocial support.
naccw.org.za

 

Read more: A midterm evaluation report by Dr Andrew Hartnack provides detailed descriptions of the different intervention models and assess their progress by mid-2018. Access the report here.

Below is a two-minute video in which Lance together with his friends Preston and Aiden, reflect on why they have all dropped out of school and on life in general.

2

Develop and demonstrate catch-up of reading for meaning as a core competency that underpins school (and life) success

“By Grade 9, learners in poor (mostly black) schools, have a [learning] backlog of approximately 3.5 years relative to their rich school counterparts.”

Moses, Van den Bergh & Rich, 2017 [33]Moses, E., S. van der Berg, and E. Rich. 2017. A Society Divided: How Unequal Education Quality Limits Social Mobility in South Africa. Synthesis report for the Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy Development (PSPPD). RESEP: University of Stellenbosch. Access it here.

Lagging behind academically is often a predictor of who drops out, although it is not necessarily the catalyst for dropout. To be able to learn, you need to be able to understand what you are reading. The 2017 PIRLS[34]PIRLS is a large-scale assessment of reading literacy in learners in Grade/Year 4. The assessment is carried out in five-year intervals, with around 50 countries now participating. PIRLS 2016 was the fourth cycle of the assessment, with the first one conducted in 2001. results showed that almost 78% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning in any language.[35]International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). 2017. PIRLS 2016: International Results in Reading.  Access here. Without being able to read for meaning, these learners will spend most of their time in school just trying to catch up, which in the end, is unachievable for many.

We are in the early stages of developing a project that will activate a network of community-based reading champions. These champions will be able to identify older learners who need support, and use tried-and-tested approaches to help them improve their learning ability so that they can cope and thrive in the classroom. The question we are trying to answer is as follows: is changing reading ability a fundamental strategy to prevent school dropout?

 

“I like surrounding myself with positive people – people I can learn things from and not those who will bring me down.”

“As a child, my father always said be careful of the people you hang out with, because they are the people who can get you into trouble. Ever since I was kid I have listened to those words and have taken them into consideration every day of my life.”

Lance, pictured here with his mother

“I like surrounding myself with positive people – people I can learn things from and not those who will bring me down.”

“As a child, my father always said be careful of the people you hang out with, because they are the people who can get you into trouble. Ever since I was kid I have listened to those words and have taken them into consideration every day of my life.”

Lance, pictured here with his mother

3

Use data-driven advocacy and public communications to position the reduction of school dropout as a local, provincial, and national imperative.

Each year the matric results are celebrated nationally, but we need to ensure the issue of retention is as firmly rooted in the national agenda. Towards this end we are producing a publication that will provide a gauge of school dropout in South Africa – and what is driving it – in order to ignite and stimulate national discussion.

4

Demonstrate what’s possible with focussed and effective interventions: mobilise a network of schools that are committed to the vision of every child making it through school.

We are developing a campaign to mobilise a network of schools that are committed to working towards a vision of Zero Dropout at their schools. This network will demonstrate what it takes to help children make it through school.

“Young people struggle most with smoking, the bad influences and the trends, because no-one wants to feel left out. I don’t think the young people know any better. There’s a lot of things that can bring them down, so they do those things because they feel pressured by their friends. Especially if you don’t have a support structure and someone you can go to speak about all this. It can eat at you.”

“When you have no-one to speak to, you have to sit with all your problems in your head, trying to think of solutions of how to solve them. But you get nowhere and see no results, because there’s no-one else that can give you advice. You’re just doing your own thing. You don’t even know if it’s right, but just go with the flow because there’s no-one else to speak to. That’s what brings you down.”

“Young people struggle most with smoking, the bad influences and the trends, because no-one wants to feel left out. I don’t think the young people know any better. There’s a lot of things that can bring them down, so they go to those things [does he mean the bad influences her?] because they feel pressured by their friends. Especially if you don’t have a support structure and someone you can go to speak about all this. It can eat at you.”

“When you have no-one to speak to, you have to sit with all your problems in your head, trying to think of solutions of how to solve them. But you get nowhere and see no results, because there’s no-one else that can give you advice. You’re just doing your own thing. You don’t even know if it’s right, but just go with the flow because there’s no-one else to speak to. That’s what brings you down.”

Progress

In 2017, we worked with nine non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to get a better understanding of the complexity of school dropout. We consolidated our learnings and, in 2018, the Zero Dropout Schools initiative was launched. It is currently in its incubation phase.

  • Educational dropout has always been on DGMT’s agenda, but we realised that there was very little focus on the middle years of schooling, where learners start to transition into adolescence, and where many drop out. Hence: DGMT shifts from a responsive approach, funding NGOs focussing mainly on support to Grade 11s and 12s, to a proactive approach that is strategic, targeted on prevention, and coordinated by DGMT.

    Late 2015
     
  • DGMT puts out a call for proposals.

    We invite you – as well-known organisations in this field, or fresh new alliances – to design and implement a programme focussed on identifying Grade 8 and/or 9 learners who are at risk of dropping out and putting in measures that reduce the rates of grade repetition and dropout.”

    We receive 85 proposals. In September 2016, we select 9 organisations to work with from October 2016 to December 2017. In rural areas, we end up working with Grades 6-7; in urban areas, with Grades 8-9.

    Dr Andrew Hartnack and New Leaders Foundation come on board as monitoring and evaluation (M&E) partners.

    Feb 2016
     
  • A year of learning, most significantly, understanding that:

    The learner is not the problem. We need a holistic approach that includes the child, the school, and the home.

    This is an enormously complex issue. We need a multipronged approach.

    Two community of practice events are facilitated with partners.

    2017
     
  • Based on passion and potential, we decide to continue with five[36]SAILI was delayed and started implementation in 2018. of the organisations.

    Two change their models completely.

    Two adapt their models.

    Only one initiative’s model stays the same.

    We now know more about the problem and its complexity, and realise we need to put more energy and effort behind this initiative. The Zero Dropout Schools Initiative is born into incubation. It adds on three layers:

    Mobilise a network of schools that are committed to the vision of every child making it through school.

    The ‘Reading for Meaning Catch-up Programme’

    Awareness raising through public communications.

    2018
     
  • There is new momentum among partner organisations as they take ownership of their approaches and start to deepen relationships with schools and communities.

    New Leaders Foundation develops an early warning system to be used by schools to notice learner disengagement, and try and prevent it, but learner data remains a massive challenge.

    The year is dedicated to conceptualising and developing points 1-3 above.

    One new staff member joins the team full time; two join part time. Our work is supported by six consultants.

    Two community of practice events facilitated.

    2017
     
  • The plan:

    Pilot the ‘Reading for Meaning Catch-up Programme’.

    Further develop and pilot the campaign strategy.

    More awareness raising and spearheading action in the national space.

    What’s missing?

    We need to think holistically about teacher wellbeing.

    We need to equip caregivers to play active roles’ in their children’s education – right the way through.

    We need to improve learner data – in terms of collection, quality, and analysis.

    2019
     

Video footage and imagery for this page was produced by Anotherlove Productions. Images taken by Bart Love in August 2018 in Bonteheuwel.

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