26.6% Surge in School Non-Attendance Among 5-24 Age Group Raises Concerns in South Africa

School Non-Attendance
School Non-Attendance

26.6% Surge in School Non-Attendance

South Africa has recently witnessed a significant rise in school non-attendance among the 5-24 age group, with a staggering increase of 26.6%, as highlighted by the Census 2022 report. This alarming trend has raised concerns about the accessibility and inclusivity of education in the country.

According to a report by Daily Maverick, this increase in non-attendance has been observed since 1996, indicating a long-standing issue that needs immediate attention. The data from the census reveals a concerning pattern, showing a decline in school attendance for colored and white individuals, while attendance increased for black, Indian, and Asian individuals from 2011 to 2022.

In response to the release of the Census 2022 report, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, emphasizing the importance of the census in providing vital information for creating a more inclusive South Africa. However, the numbers have troubled civil society group turned political entity, Build One South Africa (Bosa), who issued a statement urging the dismissal of Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

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Bosa’s statement disputes President Ramaphosa’s recent assertions regarding improved education access during the tenure of the ANC government. They highlight a concerning rise of 200,000 school dropouts or non-attendees in the past decade, leaving approximately 5.2 million school-aged children without access to formal education.

The discrepancy between President Ramaphosa’s claims and the reality of the situation raises questions about the effectiveness of current education policies and initiatives. It is clear that urgent action is needed to address the underlying issues contributing to this rise in non-attendance.

Education is the cornerstone of a prosperous society, and it is crucial that all children have equal opportunities to receive a quality education. The government, in collaboration with civil society organizations and educational experts, must work together to identify the root causes of non-attendance and implement targeted interventions to ensure that every child has access to formal education.

As South Africa moves forward, it is imperative that the government takes decisive steps to prioritize education and provide the necessary resources and support to address this pressing issue. Only through collective efforts can we create a brighter future for all children in South Africa, regardless of their background or circumstances.

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