The lived experiences of orphaned learners in South Africa: implications for the provision of quality education
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Learners living in impoverished communities and subjected to the kind of disadvantage in operation in their home environment are at risk of receiving education of an inferior quality. The situation is worse for orphans, especially those residing in poor communities in that they bring to school peculiar attributes which poses challenges for the South African government in its endeavour to provide quality education for all. This paper presents constructed narratives of four primary-school learners living in a poor community in South Africa. The narratives are presented from the perspectives of the learners themselves, teachers and caregivers. These narratives reveal that following the death of parents, orphaned learners experience emotional changes, increased responsibilities, safety concerns as well as absence of learning support in the case of sibling-headed households. We argue that the challenges they experience in their home environment impact negatively on learning at school. We, therefore, propose that the extended family and the community serve as resources in providing needed support for promoting positive educational experiences to these learners.
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