'Poor pupils play truant'

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The national education department says the main contributors to absenteeism among school pupils is poverty, a lack of transport, illness and a lack of food security.

This is revealed in a report that also highlights the fact that parents are not involved in their children's learning and school attendance.

Presenting the province's education budget speech in the legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Friday, MEC Ina Cronje said these problems needed to be addressed to ensure that teaching and learning continued unhindered.

She said the provincial department, with the national department, were drafting policy to monitor pupil attendance and absenteeism. She said this should be dealt with through improved communication between parents and schools.

"When we see children loitering in the streets, malls and taxi ranks during school hours, let's spend a few minutes with the child to find out why he or she is not at school," said Cronje.

She said Fridays at some schools were treated as half days, with pupils sent home early, and suggested scheduling tests for afternoons to curb absenteeism.