Learner migration and its impact on rural schools : a case study of two rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Simelane, Ishmael Chibelihle.
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Rural public schools are losing learners who migrate to urban public schools every year. Rural public schools have to mitigate the challenges which are brought about by learner migration. This study seeks to understand the reasons which lead to the migration of learners from rural schools to urban schools. It seeks to answer the following key research questions: Why is there learner migration from rural schools?; What is the impact of learner migration on school organisation in rural schools?; and how do school stakeholders mediate the impact of learner migration on school organisation in rural schools? Equilibrium and Organisational theories are used as theories underpinning this study. The study is located within the interpretive paradigm. It employs a qualitative approach. The data was generated in one Secondary School and one Primary School in Gingindlovu circuit in South Africa. Sixteen participants were conveniently sampled (8 from each school). The Principals and SGB Chairpersons were selected from each participating school. Six teachers were selected to take part in the focus group interviews. Semi-structured interviews were used to generate data from school principals and SGB chairpersons. The findings reveal that learners migrate due to relocation, poor school management, poor quality education, and the desire to be taught English as Home Language. Learner migration disrupts teaching and learning, cripples school budgets, reduces resources to be acquired by the school, and it also leads to the formation of multi-grade classes in Primary Schools and the reduction of subject streams in a Secondary Schools. To mitigate the impact of learner migration, schools use parents’ meetings, involve stakeholders, recruit new learners, fundraise and promote extracurricular activities. The study also makes several recommendations in order to address issues of learner migration.
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