Mapping rural youth's experiences of school exclusion.
The South African context gives rise to a number of significant adversities that challenge the stability of the individual child and the survival of their families. The repercussions of these adversities are profound. Once risk begins to accumulate, the probability of a negative developmental trajectory increases. A group of South African children that are a particularly vulnerable, at risk, and marginalized group are those youth who are excluded from school. Access to the schooling system represents an important node of care and support with the potential of linking vulnerable children to key services. Eight youth from a town in a former homeland in rural KwaZulu Natal, who are excluded from the schooling system, participated in this research. The research aimed to map their experiences of school exclusion through a participatory photo interview technique. Using Bronfenbrenner's (1979) socio-ecological systems theory, this study has indicated that exclusion from school relates to risk factors present in the five contextual systems that a child functions within. From this research one can see how each risk factor adds to the web of exclusion that makes these youth hard to identify, access and help. The findings indicate that there is a need to further investigate the South African child care grant system and the impact it has on access to schooling, as well as to develop macrosystemic interventions to alleviate poverty.
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