Basic Education Minister Motshekga explains SA's huge grade 10 dropout rate

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that her department was trying to address this with the help of departments like social development.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that there were a number of reasons for the huge learner dropout in grade 10.

She said that these included factors like the change in curriculum as well as teenage pregnancies and juvenile delinquency.

Motshekga said that her department was trying to address this with the help of departments like social development.

The minister was asked in Parliament about the concerning trend on Wednesday, as part of the social cluster of ministers.

Minister Motshekga on Wednesday had to again address the disturbing trend of huge learner dropouts in grade 10, amounting to almost 100,000 pupils.

She was asked what number of learners who had enrolled in grade 1 in 2011 were now in their matric class in 2022 and how many had dropped out along the way.

"And the question was: 'What is the cause for the dropout, where are the others?' Indeed chair, as a country, up to grade 9, we have almost 99% school attendance. In grade 10 we see a huge dive," Minister Motshekga said.

The minister said that there were a number of factors that caused the high dropout rate.

"We’ve also picked up that because at that age, they are teenagers and there are social difficulties in our communities, they experience unwanted pregnancies, juvenile delinquency, hence we see lots of kids trapped in drugs and others getting to prison. That’s one of the problems we have," she said.

Motshekga also addressed the use of mother-tongue instruction, saying that the country had to deepen the programme to ensure greater learner success.