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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


COETZEE, Susan  and  VENTER, Rienie. South African law and policy regulating learner absenteeism at public schools: Supporting an ecosystemic management approach. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2016, vol.36, n.4, pp.1-11. ISSN 2076-3433.

Learner absenteeism often occurs involuntarily due to learners' social and economic circumstances. Notwithstanding this fact, there is a worldwide trend towards a more punitive and retributory management approach to address learner absenteeism. Because such an approach neglects to consider absentees' specific circumstances, it fails to address learner absenteeism properly. In the first part of this article, the authors considered the suitability of the ecosystemic theory as basis for a management approach that will acknowledge the full range of contextual risk factors that may exist in absentee learners' living environment. The authors argue in favour of a transnational and generic ecosystemic approach, with an inherent focus on contexts and interrelatedness, as a suitable approach to managing learner absenteeism. The second part of this article focuses on an analysis of South African law and policy regulating learner absenteeism, to determine whether it supports an ecosystemic approach to managing learner absenteeism. The authors found that, while South African law and policy regulating learner absenteeism mostly support an ecosystemic approach to managing learner absenteeism, some prescriptions of the Policy on Learner Attendance do not. After making some recommendations in this regard, the authors conclude with generic guidelines to managing learner absenteeism.

Keywords : ecosystemic theory; learner absenteeism; management approach; South African law and policy.

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