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An analysis of how socioeconomic issues affect the performance of learners in rural schools: a case study of Ga-Sekgopo high schools grade 8-10 learners.

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Rural Schools in South Africa are characterised by poor service delivery and low academic achievements. The learners in rural schools face several challenges that lower their chances of attaining academic excellence. Some of these issues include low socioeconomic status, inadequate service delivery which leads to a lack of basic infrastructure, such as classrooms, libraries, and other resources such as textbooks and computers, which would assist to advance learners. Despite the government’s efforts of implementing different policies in the Department of Education, rural schools continue to struggle because of their disadvantage of being in a remote rural area, were there is a lack of access of basic resources. This study reveals that most rural communities attempt to assist the learners in rural schools, some communities have engaged in protest action to remove educators which were not advancing the learners. In other instances, the communities donate funds to assist schools in meeting their needs. Although, the involvement of the local community is essential, the gap in schools remain, as the rural communities are also in a disadvantage situation and therefore their impact can be minimal. Also, the communication from the schools and the communities is not efficient, this depends on the School Governing Body structure, the leadership of the school and the overall involvement of parents. This study investigated how socio-economic issues affect the academic performance of rural learners, focusing on the schools in the Ga Sekgopo Village in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. This study adopted a qualitative research methodology to answer the research questions. In depth interviews were used to explore the views and the perspectives of the educators and the former learners of Ga Sekgopo.The sample consisted of one representative of the educators, the School Governing Body (SGB) from each of the five schools from Ga Sekgopo as well as 5 former learners who previously attended the High schools in Ga Sekgopo village were interviewed. The findings of this study revealed that external factors such as socioeconomic issues, a lack of infrastructure, poor participation of the parents in the learners schooling, HIV/AIDs infection and poor government service delivery and poor implementation of policies. All have a significant impact in affecting the teaching and learning process, in essence affecting the level of achievements produced by the learner. This study revealed that schools in rural areas are at a disadvantage as they experience different challenges such as, poor service delivery from the government, poor infrastructure, an issue with obtaining good educators and more. Learners in rural schools are affected by those challenges that are predominant in the schools, and also have to face the challenges that they have at home which may be associated with their socioeconomic status. Therefore, this study recommends a strategy or a model for rural schools, that will help in retaining Education graduates in rural school. Also for the government to prioritise service delivery in rural schools, and to formulate programs or workshops to train the educators on how to deal with learners from rural schools. Partnering with Non-Profit Organisations which are interested in developing learners academically, would be a viable solution to cover the gap that rural learners experience.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.