With over 9.2 million young people not in employment, education or training, accessing support to get us back on track should be a priority. But more than often, it’s not.
Repeating years, whether at school, college or university, is the biggest predictor of one of us dropping out of education. Over 1 million school learners repeat grades each year. In 2018, the cost of repeaters in the public schooling system was estimated at R20 billion – 8% of the annual basic education budget. Given the high rates of repetition, the Basic Education policy does not allow us to repeat a grade more than once in a phase. Instead, we are ‘progressed’, even if we fail a second time. Yet very few of us who are ‘progressed’ get the support we need to succeed. A strong academic catch up strategy would provide us with proper support at the right time.
As in the school system, those of us who make it to higher education are often not supported to keep up. Two out of five students that enrol in an undergraduate degree do not finish.
The COVID-19 lockdown hasn’t improved this situation. Research by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) showed that the majority of learners had lost 80% of learning time during the 2020 academic year; by August 2021, the majority of learners had already lost 50% of learning time for the 2021 year.
We need a national plan that will support those of us who fall behind to catch up, and those of us who leave the
system to re-enter education or training. Ensuring that we are equipped with strong foundational skills, like literacy and numeracy, is essential for us to grasp new material. Educators must also be able to identify when we aren’t keeping up, and provide the right types of resources, teaching, and support to bring us up to speed. Lastly, if we do drop out of education – whether basic or tertiary – we shouldn’t be locked out of further opportunity.
Why a national catch up plan matters.
A strong catch up strategy means finding ways to re-engage us, offering us support to re-enter education or training so that we can stay on track.
What could this catch up plan look like?
Those of us who have knowledge gaps, get the individual attention we need to catch up, whether at school,
college or university.
Paths back into education are simplified and the necessary information made available to those of us who
have dropped out.
The Action Plan to tackle youth unemployment.
#Catch Us Up is one of the Calls to Action, part of Youth Capital’s Action Plan to shift gears on youth unemployment. The Action Plan combines data with young people’s lived experiences of youth unemployment, to present the 10 most pressing priorities that need to be addressed, to meaningfully tackle youth unemployment. Check the Action Plan and add your voice to it here!
How was your educational journey? Share it with us on Facebook or drop us a WhatsApp!