Resilience Processes Facilitating School Re-Entry among Rural Female High School Learners in South Africa




school dropout, school re-entry, school social work, resilience


School dropout is a concern globally. In South Africa, approximately 60 per cent of young adults drop out before completing secondary school. Although much is known about school dropout, little is known about the factors that enable some learners to re-enter education after a period of dropout. In this qualitative descriptive study with 12 adolescent female learners from a rural school in Mpumalanga, South Africa, we sought to understand the social-ecological resilience processes that facilitated their re-entry after one to two years of dropout. The findings indicated several personal and relational resilience processes, including the learners’ desire for success and others’ encouragement of learners to focus on the future. Informed by the resilience and push–pull theories, the findings suggest that a collective narrative of education as being key to one’s future was powerful in facilitating educational re-entry. We argue that school social workers could cultivate this narrative to prevent school dropout and to facilitate the re-entry of dropped-out learners back into school.


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How to Cite

van Breda, Adrian D, and Prince Mokoena. 2022. “Resilience Processes Facilitating School Re-Entry Among Rural Female High School Learners in South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (3):19 pages.



Received 2021-08-03
Accepted 2022-01-13
Published 2022-10-06