The effects of orphanhood on scholastic performance among primary school learners in Mankweng of Limpopo province, South Africa
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The well-being of learners is critical for attention, memory, language, perception, decision making and problem solving. Stressors such as the loss of a parent(s) can hamper these processes resulting in scholastic underachievement. Current research has explored the scholastic performance of orphaned learners aged eight to ten from ten public primary schools in Mankweng Circuit of Limpopo Province, South Africa, utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods that included semi structured interviews, observations and questionnaires. A sample of two hundred learners (N=200) took part in the study. Four learning areas namely Sepedi, English, Numeracy, and Lifeskills were studied. The teachers' schedules were used to assess the scholastic performance of orphaned in comparison with non-orphaned learners. The findings revealed that the highest number of orphaned learners obtained scores ranging from 0-49 in the learning areas investigated. The highest number of non-orphans learners obtained scores ranging from 50-69 in the four areas studied. The educators also identified that orphaned learners as compared to non-orphaned learners perform below the average. The findings also reveal that orphaned learners displayed bully behavior and poor self-esteem when compared to non-orphans. The study recommends the provision of the after-school intervention programs that will cater for the scholastic needs of disadvantaged learners.