Out of 100 Indigenous boys and girls, only 53 reach the final years of secondary education, a study commissioned by the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund has found.
The study found that school dropouts are common in the hinterland region and happen at two points.
In the first instance, students stop their formal education when they are transitioning from primary school to secondary school.
The second wave of dropouts happens during secondary education when adolescents stop their formal schooling.
The main reasons for the dropouts were listed as lack of secondary schools in hinterland areas, the financial situation of families (which causes children to start6 working at an early age), the perception that education is not necessary and a lack of employment opportunities that require academic qualifications, pushing many into logging and mining.
In addition, the study found that the school curriculum is centered on content that is not practical for children living in the hinterland. Further, teenage pregnancy was cited as another reason why girls drop out of school.
The report quoted one professional as saying that while primary education is accessible in all communities visited for the study, many don’t have the required number of trained teachers.
“…sometimes it affects you in terms of time to get materials, textbooks, supplies on time – it is really, really rough,” the education professional stated.