Education: National Context
- Government’s spend on education increased from R323 billion in 2017 to R351 billion in 2018, constituting 21% of the R1.67 trillion total national budget for the year. The lion’s share (R230 billion) was allocated to basic education, R35 billion went to university transfers and R23 billion to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) received R11 billion.
- According to the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, 78% of grade four learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning, compared to 4% internationally. South Africa ranked last out of 50 participating countries.
- The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, published by the World Economic Forum, ranked South Africa 128 out of 139 countries for the quality of maths and science higher education.
- The National Senior Certificate pass rate increased from 72% in 2016 to 75% in 2017.
- According to the National Education Infrastructure Management System January 2018 report, 8 702 (37%) of the 23 471 public schools that were included in the research had pit toilets. However, the Department of Basic Education’s rapid audit report stated that there were 5 779 schools with pit toilets. This report was produced at the President’s instruction after yet another student drowned in a pit toilet at an Eastern Cape primary school in March 2018. Social justice organisations Equal Education and SECTION27 questioned the likelihood of 2 923 pit toilets being eradicated within the span of just three months, calling for reliable and accurate information in order to inform an efficient and effective school sanitation implementation plan.
- A 2015 Performance and Expenditure Review commissioned by National Treasury found that only 2% of students studying for a national vocational certificate (the matric equivalent of theory and practical experience in a vocational field) completed the course in the minimum three-year period. The Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training attributes these poor results to underfunding which severely impacts the capacity, quality, staff ratios, infrastructure maintenance, research, basic provision and transformation at TVET colleges.
- The Department of Higher Education and Training’s Investment Trends on Post-School Education and Training in South Africa report, released in 2018, showed that only 30% of students that registered for four-year undergraduate degrees in 2012 finished in the allocated time.