This article reports on the perceptions of academic resilience of Grade 8 and Grade 9 learners and their teachers in low socioeconomic township schools. Learners from township schools experience many risk factors that can impede their academic success and careers. A lack of resources is one of the risk factors experienced by the learners. During COVID-19, where an online or hybrid learning model was relied on for teaching and learning, most township schools relied on the rotational learning model instead. The study’s main aim is to evaluate and understand the learners’ perceptions of their academic strengths, future aspirations and motivation, and to compare their perceptions with those that emerged from their teachers’ blind evaluations. The participants were teachers (n = 8) and learners (n = 12) from two purposively sampled township secondary schools. Data-generation instruments included semi-structured interviews for learners and a self-constructed Likert-type-scale questionnaire for teachers. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings suggest that risk factors to academic resilience exist within the family and the school environment. Lack of parental support and school security, poor teacher-learner relationship and unemployment were frequently mentioned. However, factors that can enhance academic resilience were also identified within the family, school and community. Risks and protective factors affecting learners’ immediate threats and needs were identified. Access to technology and the need for technological advances were not identified as resources or risks. Future research should examine the relationship between resilience, academic resilience, career aspirations and the role of technology in education.
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