11 January 2019

South Africa: Class of 2018 - We Shortchanged a Quarter of Them a Long, Long Time Ago

analysis

Around the time the matric class of 2018 was in grade one, an estimated one in four children under the age of five in South Africa were stunted, according to *health analysis.

Stunting -- a condition that robs young children from reaching their full potential and manifests as shortness in height for a child's age, is a result of prolonged malnutrition, particularly in the first 1,000 days -- from pregnancy to a child's second birthday. Stunting affects a child's physical and cognitive development and research has shown it is directly linked with poor performance in school, an increased likelihood to drop out of school and vulnerability to poor health, poverty and unemployment in adulthood.

In newspapers, on our radio stations and social media pages, as a country, we've debated how it came to be that approximately half a million of the Grade 1 learners of 2007 didn't make it to matric. The reasons are no doubt multifactorial -- nonetheless, there has been worryingly little to no mention of the likely contribution of the high rates of stunting prevalent at the time the matric class of 2018 began their schooling career.

Sadly, as we enter 2019, the prevalence of stunting in...

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