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9 Million South African Children Walk to School

More than 9 million South African children walk to school every day. Three million walk for more than an hour, and in the rural countryside, some walk more than four hours.

Education vs Poverty

South African children face many socio-economic challenges which prevents them from receiving the proper education and skillset that is required to grow into well-established adults. In addition to lack of funding and proper school facilities, children must also go to great lengths simply to reach their closest school which can pose a barrier to education. Access to schools is also hampered by poor roads, transport that is unavailable or unaffordable, and danger along the way which can negatively influence regular attendance as well as extramural activity participation.

Statistics on children in South Africa

The Children’s Institute along with the University of Cape Town provide us with the following statistics regarding school-going children in South Africa.

Three-quarters of South Africa’s learners walk to school, while 9% use public transport. Around 2% report using school buses or transport provided by the government.

School access graph

Overall, the vast majority (83%) of the 11 million children who attend school travel less than 30 minutes to reach school, and most learners (81%) attend their nearest school. Children of secondary age are more likely than primary school learners to travel far to reach school. In mid-2011 there were approximately seven million children of primary school age (7 – 13 years) in South Africa. A million of these children (15%) travel more than 30 minutes to and from school every day. In KwaZulu-Natal this proportion is significantly higher than the national average, at 24%. Of the 4.3 million children of secondary school age (14 – 17 years), 20% travel more than 30 minutes to reach school.

DTR school graph

Author/s:  Katharine Hall, Arianne De Lannoy, & Shirley Pendlebury
Date: October 2013

Volunteer Organisations

Volunteer organisatoins such as Dreams To Reality not only provides educational and fun activities for the children, but also volunteer in the Capricorn/ Vrygrond and the Imizamo Yethu Communities to provide children with the necessary support structure close to home.

Find out how you can volunteer and make a difference in South Africa today, click here.

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