Prevalence, distribution and characteristics of youth not enrolled in school : evidence from the Community Survey 2007, South Africa.

Monyela, Makgongoana Henry
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The Education for All Movement (EFA) premises its commitment on the belief that quality education for all youth will ensure that they have equal access to skills and knowledge that will assist them in getting into gainful employment and enable them to participate fully in their societies. The importance and benefits of providing access to education and lifelong learning opportunities to youth has been acknowledged by a majority of world countries. These countries believe that quality education to youth means the ability to survive, to live and work in dignity, to participate fully in development, improve quality of their lives, to make informed decisions, and continuous learning – requirements for citizens of the 21st century. However, EFA mid-term report shows that as much as 42% of the world’s secondary school going-age youth were not enrolled in 2006, the majority of these youth are found in sub-Saharan Africa. There are a few empirical studies on the extent of school non-attendance and the profile of these youth not enrolled in an educational institution in the region. The study makes use of the Statistics South Africa dataset, Community Survey 2007, to determine the prevalence of school non-enrolment in South Africa among the 16 to 18 year olds. Second, the study attempts to establish the characteristics of the youth not enrolled in an education institution. To this end, the study analyzed the extent of non-enrolment prevalence, vi and the geographic distribution of the problem. In order to determine the geographic distribution of the problem, I first look at the size of school non-enrolment problem, nationally. I then analyse provincial, district and local patterns of school non-enrolment. Lastly, I analyse the data for identifiable individual and family factors that could be associated with the youth not currently enrolled in an educational institution. My analysis shows that the extent of youth between 16 and 18 years not enrolled in school is 16.6%, confirming recent government reports on prevalence among this age cohort. The study reveals physiographic and sub-population characteristics associated with non-enrolment in school. Disability, lack of access to social security grants, the low education level of a parent, or head of household that is not a parent are factors found to be related with low school participation by youth from those households. The study recommends a deeper investigation on the impact that the physiographic characteristics have on patterns of school enrolment.
Non-enrolment, Physiographic characteristics, Community characteristics, Family structure, Disability