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Monday, 24 June, 2002
WCED studies trends in school enrolments
Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister
The Western Cape Education Department is currently analysing data on school enrolments and other relevant statistics to obtain a clearer picture of what is meant by high school "drop-outs".
Enrolment figures for Grades 8 to 12 do show a decline. While there is no doubt that this decline includes learners dropping out of high school, we must avoid simplistic assumptions based on these figures.
For example, a number of learners migrate from ordinary public schools to technical colleges, and many overage learners leave school to complete their Senior Certificate at Adult Basic Education and Training Centres.
We plan to encourage more vocational and technical training, so migration to technical colleges may well increase in the years to come.
Grade Nine is also accepted as an exit point, and those who leave with Grade Nine cannot be described as drop-outs, although we would prefer learners to continue with further education and training in some form.
In addition, we are looking at the significance of repeated years on enrolments in junior high school grades.
Hopefully, our research will throw more light on these trends.
Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned at any drop-out rate, and we are looking at performance at all levels to design and implement interventions that prepare learners adequately for high school and their Senior Certificate examinations.
If our research shows further grounds for concern, then we will develop additional strategic interventions to deal with these challenges.
The total high school enrolment figures in the Western Cape are as follows:
The Communications Directorate
Western Cape Education Department
Private Bag X9114
Cape Town 8000
Tel: (021) 467-2531
Fax: (021) 467-2363
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