Worrying dropout rates at school and university level- IRR report

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THANDI XABA

About 51% of students who enrol for three- and four-year degrees never graduate, with only one in four matric pupils passing maths with 50% or higher.

This is according to the South Africa Institute of Race Relations (IRR) account derived from a Fast Facts report. Mienke Steytler says these figures could be due to several reasons like financial strain and teenage pregnancy.

"It could be students are repeating grades, dropping out to care for their families, teenage pregnancy or even financial constraints. Also they might commute very far and once they reach a certain age they might decide to stay home and look for work," she says.

Steytler says the dropout figures are placed in proportion with the youth unemployment rate, with youth aged 15-24 years listed as the most to drop-out.

She says the IRR is in support of more vocational schools that can assist in skills development and combating unemployment. "We still think children will have a better future if they stay in school."