Before the pandemic hit, hundreds of thousands of young South African every year would drop out, repeated grades, pushed grades without a plan to learn the material. Before COVID-19, our system had problems assisting learners to catch up, and now the problem has only been exacerbated.
According to the National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) Wave 4 findings, in 2020 South African primary school children in no-fee schools have learnt 50-75% less than what they normally learn. This learning loss is critical as it impacts a situation where primary school learners were already disadvantaged. According to the PIRL Literacy Study from 2016, 3 in 4 South African Grade 4 children can’t read for meaning in the language in which they are taught. It’s important to highlight that more than 70% of South African schools are no-fee.
In its Action Plan to reduce youth unemployment, Youth Capital prioritises the need for an academic catch up plan, to ensure that learners can complete their education. In her interview with Africa Melane, Youth Capital’s Project Lead Kristal Duncan-Williams covers the need for an academic catch up plan as well as the tailored support female job-seekers need.