An investigation of factors contributing to dropping out of school in KwaZulu-Natal : policy implications for poverty alleviation.
Contrary to many efforts by the new South African government in its commitment to widen access to educational opportunities and the provision of a free education for all, dropping out of school episodes remain a major threat to the gains of the past nines years in the new South Africa. Using the second wave of 'Transitions to Adulthood in the Context of Aids in South Africa' dataset, this dissertation investigates dropping out of school episodes. A dropout refers to an adolescent who discontinued his/her education before completing grade 12. In particular the study investigates the major determinants of dropouts. Reasons cited for dropping out of school varies from economic, individual, social and school based. It was found that the major contributor to the dropping out of school episodes in KwaZulu-Natal is poverty. Hence the impact of poverty is widely acknowledged as being among the most serious problems facing post-apartheid South Africa. It is against this backdrop that this dissertation seeks an immediate response by government to invest in human capital, particularly in education, as means to alleviate poverty. The government among others therefore should recommit itself in providing and funding education for all. Both access and opportunities to schooling need to be widened.