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Schools in the time of COVID-19: Possible implications for enrolment, repetition and dropout

Author

Listed:
  • Servaas van der Berg

    () (Resep, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Chris van Wyk

    () (Resep, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Rebecca Selkirk

    () (Resep, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

One needs good quality data on current enrolment, dropout and repetition in order to evaluate the possible implications of different repetition and dropout decisions by school authorities, learners and parents for enrolment numbers and for the composition of classes in 2021. We obtained learner level data from LURITS, a relative recent way of organising and managing enrolment data that has superseded the Annual National Census of Schools. Though far from perfect, this data give good information about the extremely high levels of repetition. High repetition leads to many learners being over-aged and to dropout being quite common in secondary school. Assessing various alternative scenarios about learners returning to school, repetition and dropout, we conclude that the most likely outcome for 2021 is that considerably more learners would be promoted to grades 11 and 12 in particular, with implications for allocations of classrooms, books and teachers, with a decline of repetition in Grade 10. Learners in all grades would have a learning deficit compared to previous years, but in addition, the heterogeneity of academic backgrounds would be even greater than usual in 2021 in the final two grades, confronting teachers with an even more difficult task than usual.

Suggested Citation

  • Servaas van der Berg & Chris van Wyk & Rebecca Selkirk, 2020. "Schools in the time of COVID-19: Possible implications for enrolment, repetition and dropout," Working Papers 20/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers355
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicola Branson & Clare Hofmeyr & David Lam, 2014. "Progress through school and the determinants of school dropout in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 106-126, January.
    2. Muzna Alvi & Manavi Gupta, 2020. "Learning in times of lockdown: how Covid-19 is affecting education and food security in India," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 12(4), pages 793-796, August.
    3. Lam, David & Ardington, Cally & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2011. "Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 121-136, July.
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    5. Servaas van der Berg & Gabrielle Wills & Rebecca Selkirk & Charles Adams & Chris van Wyk, 2019. "The cost of repetition in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Servaas van der Berg & Chris van Wyk & Rebecca Selkirk & Kate Rich & Nicola Deghaye, 2019. "The promise of SA-SAMS & DDD data for tracking progression, repetition and drop-out," Working Papers 17/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Chris van Wyk & Anderson Gondwe & Pierre de Villiers, 2017. "Learner flow through patterns in the Western Cape using CEMIS datasets from 2007 to 2014: A longitudinal cohort analysis," Working Papers 02/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; pandemic; schools; repetition; enrolment; dropout; South Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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