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Lack of parenting, bullying leads to absenteeism

by Luyanda Makapela
on 02 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

A lack of parental involvement, bullying and punishment for late-coming are some of the reasons why there is a high rate of absenteeism among South African pupils, according to a report.

A new report, released by the Department of Education, has revealed that South African schools have a high rate of school absenteeism when compared to schools abroad.

"In developed countries absenteeism rates usually range between six and eight percent," said Education spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele on Monday, adding: "In African countries, absenteeism rates have been found to have been much higher, sometimes as high as 50 percent."

The study into learner absenteeism commissioned by the department, found that the occurrence of learner absenteeism in South African schools is between five and 15 percent.

According to the department personal matters such as illness, learning difficulties were some of the reasons for children staying away from school.

Other's include socio-economic issues such as a lack of transport; lack of parental involvement; dysfunctional families; the impact of HIV and AIDS; drug abuse and teenage pregnancy while school-based concerns include boredom, punishment for late-coming, bullying and violence in schools.

The study reported that many school, district and provincial officials reported that learner absenteeism was not as big a problem as teacher absenteeism.

In 2007, the Department of Education commissioned the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) and Joint Education Trust (JET) to undertake an investigation into learner absenteeism in South African schools.

The study was aimed at investigating the extent of learner absenteeism in schools and exploring reasons why learners absent themselves from schools.

The study further examined the systems that exist to record, monitor and reduce learner absenteeism, and review international and local good practice in recording and monitoring learner absenteeism.

The investigation was based on a study of thirty schools throughout the nine provinces, complemented by interviews with officials from district and provincial offices.

To complement primary data collection, a detailed local and international literature review was undertaken.

The local literature review aimed at assessing the extent of learner absenteeism in South Africa by examining existing large-scale studies on the incidence of learner absenteeism in South Africa. -BuaNews

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System

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