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Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP20/2020
Publication date: November 2020


One needs good quality data on current enrolment, dropout and repetition in order to evaluate the possible implications of different repetition and dropout decisions by school authorities, learners and parents for enrolment numbers and for the composition of classes in 2021. We obtained learner level data from LURITS, a relative recent way of organising and managing enrolment data that has superseded the Annual National Census of Schools. Though far from perfect, this data give good information about the extremely high levels of repetition. High repetition leads to many learners being over-aged and to dropout being quite common in secondary school. Assessing various alternative scenarios about learners returning to school, repetition and dropout, we conclude that the most likely outcome for 2021 is that considerably more learners would be promoted to grades 11 and 12 in particular, with implications for allocations of classrooms, books and teachers, with a decline of repetition in Grade 10. Learners in all grades would have a learning deficit compared to previous years, but in addition, the heterogeneity of academic backgrounds would be even greater than usual in 2021 in the final two grades, confronting teachers with an even more difficult task than usual.

JEL Classification:
I220, O150, H410

Covid-19, pandemic, schools, repetition, enrolment, dropout, South Africa