Disappearing Schoolchildren or Data Misunderstandings? Dropout Phenomena in South Africa
Towards the end of 2005 a controversy erupted in the South African media. "734,000 children disappear between Grades 1 and 6 and we do not know where they are," "half of pupils do not reach Grade 12," "there are more than one million children of school-going age out of school," "there is a huge dropout problem." While statements based on these sorts of factoids make good press, it is important to take a careful and dispassionate few of this controversy using the best data possible. Our analysis addresses these factoids to determine which ones might be close to true, and which of them are largely simple mistakes in understanding education systems and education data.