At about seven percent of gross domestic product and 20 percent of total state expenditure, South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investments in education in the world. The South African Schools Act of 1996 makes education compulsory for all South Africans from the age of 7 to the age of 15.
President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on February 13 that the country’s matric pass rate went up from about 61 percent in 2009 to 78 percent last year. The matric pass rate is calculated by annual national assessments.
South Africa has 23 state-funded post-secondary institutions, 11 universities, six universities of technology and six comprehensive institutions.
As a result of education inequalities during apartheid, 18 percent of adults are illiterate. Today, almost 59 percent of whites attend higher education institutions; only 14 percent of blacks attend. The disparate percentage is a consequence of inadequate primary and secondary schooling due to apartheid.
The Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative has delivered 370 new schools throughout the country. The program replaces unsuitable infrastructure with schools.
Meanwhile, enrollment at universities has increased 13 percent since 2009 and Further Education and Training (FET) college enrollments have increased by 90 percent.
South Africa has implemented a plan for schools called Action Plan to 2014, a part of a larger vision called Schooling 2025, which aims to improve learning and teacher training. By 2025, South Africa wants to see students attend school every day and are on time. The country aims for schools to be accessible, clean and safe learning environments.
The program also includes teacher training, which will improve their capabilities and confidence. The focus of the program is on literacy and numeracy. This curriculum is known as the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS,) which provides specific guidelines for what is taught in schools.
Improving educational opportunities helps create tomorrow’s leaders. By giving students the opportunity to learn in a safe, clean and accessible environment, South Africa is helping to alleviate poverty, one step at a time.
Sources: All Africa, South Africa Info
Photo: YWC Project