Less than a third of learners in the Eastern Cape who enrolled in school in twelve years ago will be writing their matric this year.
According to the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, 74% of learners who entered the system in 2001, did not make it to matric in 2012.
Of the 26% (or 72 354 children) who did make it all the way to matric last year, only 14% (or 39 443) of the total cohort actually passed matric.
These alarming statistics is another indictment on the how the education system in the Eastern Cape is far below the national average and how it is failing our children, especially in the poor, disadvantaged areas.
We are cultivating a province of school dropouts with little opportunity of becoming successful job-seekers and entrepreneurs. The national dropout rate over 12 years of schooling was 52% in 2012, and 49% in 2011.
While reasons for children drop out of school can be attributed to poverty, teenage pregnancy, lack of interest in schooling and repetition of grades, social problems should not deter us from making our schools places of hope and places of nurture and a change for a better future.
What is needed is a strong and effective school leadership, employing quality teachers who can instil a love for their subjects in learners, developing discipline and confidence, providing a safe environment and meaningful subject combinations which will give learners the necessary tools to gain decent employment.