Rural school transportation : poor rural learners' experiences of their trips to and from school.
Mahlaba, Bafana Joseph.
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This study is about poor rural learners who walk long distances to school and back home. The study focuses on learners’ experiences between home and school, and how some experiences become a barrier to education. Two methods of data generation were used, that is, focus group interview and a purposive observation. The focus group was conducted with ten Grade 10 learners. These in-depth interviews focused on their experiences during their walk between home and school. The composition of learners that were selected was gender balanced. There were five boys and five girls from one rural secondary school in KwaZulu-Natal. During the focus group interview the learners told stories about their experinces on their walk to school, and they were capable of articulating their experiences. The purposive observation was of learners coming to school. During the observation week a high rate of absenteeism was noted. The findings were that poor rural learners who walk long distances experience delays and miss the first lesson of school. However, this changes according to the seasons of the year. For example, in summer experiences were different from those in the winter. There were also life threatning risks such as snakes that learners come across as they walk to school. The conclusion is that some of the experiences, such as late-coming and absenteeism, lead to barriers that undermine access to quality education.