Predictors of school dropout in South Africa: an overview.
Le Roux, Jurné.
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ABSTRACT Introduction: South Africa’s schooling programme has been divided into four phases: the first three phases being compulsory, and the last phase optional. In terms of completion of the optional phase of schooling, South Africa fares below average in relation to other middle-income countries, to the extent that school dropout has become a national crisis. School dropout has grave and enduring consequences, and further investigation appeared essential. An overview of the influential aspects associated with early school-leaving was consequently compiled to establish a greater understanding of the phenomenon. Objectives: To provide a critical overview of the predictive risk factors associated with school dropout, highlighting the manner in which such factors affect early school-leaving and possibly interact with each other. Method: A scoping review was employed as review design as it provided an effective method to comprehensively examine, clarify, and summarise the extent, range, and nature of dropout predictors. Findings: From an initial 636 sources, 73 were ultimately selected for review. Seventeen primary themes concerning predictors of school dropout were extracted from the selected material, and categorised as personal, economic, social, and school factors. An overlap between the predictive factors was also established, and six further themes could be identified in this regard. Based on the above findings, relevant principles related to school dropout interventions were discussed. Conclusion: It was clear from the overview provided that school dropout is a complex and multifaceted process, which involves the presence and interaction of multiple factors. A narrow theoretical model, with a single predictor emphasis, could subsequently not provide an adequate theoretical framework, and a bioecological approach was thus applied. It was also clear that school dropout interventions should be implemented broadly across various domains.