The lives of ten school leavers from a special class in a primary school in KwaZulu-Natal.
This study explored the lives of ten school leavers who were in the special class at the school in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The intention of the research was to gain insight into the schooling experiences of ten schools leavers, and to examine the factors that impact on these particular life outcomes. A life story approach was utilised in this qualitative case study of the ten individuals. Interviews were conducted with the school leavers and parents or significant family member. The findings in this study if embedded within the social rights discourse reveal that for many of the learners systemic barriers within the schooling system served as barriers to positive life outcomes. The ten learners experienced various exclusionary pressures in their schooling years that have negatively impacted on their life outcomes. The school leavers face complex barriers that make it virtually impossible for them to achieve independence and full participation in society. These include no job opportunities, lack of any work skills, low levels of schooling, dependence on sheltered employment with low levels of income, dependence on the government social welfare grant, poor self-esteem. The findings further revealed that these learners might be vulnerable to social and emotional risk factors. The study suggests that there is a need for further research on school leavers from special class provision in the context of Education White paper 6: Building an Inclusive Education and Training System, (Department of Education, 2001) so that their needs can be given priority in the implementation process that is currently underway in the country.