Factors influencing high dropout rates of girl child from education: A case study of black women in North West Province, South Africa
Progress in education of the girl child in sub-Saharan Africa in general and South Africa in particular has been impeded by the high rates of school dropout, which occurrence has implications for the attainment of the MDGs, particularly eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, improving the health of children and mothers, achieving gender equality and empowerment of women, curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS and other diseases and improving environmental sustainability. The objectives of the study were to assess the magnitude of school dropout and identify factors influencing this tendency in the North West province. The study used event history data on 582 women collected by use of the cross-sectional research design. It found that school dropout rates are significantly influenced by factors that include high rates of school pregnancies, low grades at a high age, low educational attainment of mothers and a young age at first sexual intercourse. The paper recommends greater emphasis of sexual abstinence through school based programmes, zero tolerance to sexual crimes involving minors by raising the age threshold for such crimes, reducing over-age enrolments and adoption of flexible schooling systems to accommodate pregnant and student mothers.
Keywords: Education, girl child, South Africa, pregnancy, MDGs, drop out