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Early school leavers and sustainable learning environments in rural contexts

SMG Mahlomaholo


In this paper, I show by means of Yosso’s community cultural wealth theoretical framework how equal numbers of early school leavers (ESLs) from the rural and the urban parts of the North-West province cite similar reasons for their early departure from school. The conclusion drawn from this scenario is that, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds and locations, they all seem to be affected in similar ways by conditions in their respective schools and social milieu. The above conclusion indicates that there is nothing intrinsically inferior or backward about rural learners and their settings. What seems to be different though may be how they are excluded with regard to curriculum practices that do not address their specific circumstances directly. On the basis of this conclusion I suggest that these curriculum practices be customised to the needs and conditions in the rural settings towards the creation of sustainable learning environments so as to stem the high rates of learner attrition therein. This must be done with the intention of giving rural learners opportunities similar to those afforded to learners from urban backgrounds. To date, rural learners have been deliberately and/or inadvertently excluded and marginalised; thus, to remedy the situation I propose the creation of sustainable learning environments in rural schools as well.

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print ISSN: 0258-2236