The Social Treatment of Ex-Dropouts Reenrolled in Secondary School in South Africa

Byron A Brown


Dropout recovery and return to school is an education access priority for government in countries in both the
western and non-western worlds. In a qualitative investigation involving a sample of dropouts who had
re-enrolled in secondary school in South Africa, this study explored antisocial aspects in their social experiences
at school. The aim was to explore the social treatment of ex-dropout who rerolled in secondary school and
discuss ways to help them reintegrate in the school community. The study revealed that the major antisocial
aspects in dropout experience were prejudice and social hostility, expressed through experiences of social
ostracism, isolation, categorisation and rejection. This was motivated by a matrix of intersecting modern and
traditional forces. Relational and physical aggressions, which occurred in response to dropout out-group
labelling and categorisation, were major factors in the social interactions. The evidence of hostility and reactions
substantiated previous studies. The various implications of the findings for the school climate were highlighted.
The study stressed that for dropouts to reintegrate, the entire school culture that condones social categorisation,
relational or physical aggression against them, needs to be altered.

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Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)


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