Education in South Africa

It is generally agreed that South Africa’s education system is failing and maths and science education are particularly weak. For example:

  • The 2014 World Economic Forum report ‘The Global Information Technology Report 2014: Rewards and Risks of Big Data’ ranks South Africa’s education system at 146 out of 148, and maths and science education at 148 out of 148. (Page 224)
  • Spaull-2013 in his report for the Centre for Development and Enterprise in South Africa, states:

    however one chooses to measure learner performance, and at whichever grade one chooses to test, the vast majority of South African pupils are significantly below where they should be in terms of the curriculum, and more generally, have not reached a host of normal numeracy and literacy milestones (p. 3).

The EFA Global monitoring report Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all Monitoring the Education for All goals points out that within the South African education system, inequalities persist with only 14% of grade 8 students from poorer backgrounds reaching the minimum levels in mathematics in 2009, whereas 40% of students from richer backgrounds reach the minimum level (EFA Global monitoring, 2013).

See also:

Reddy, V., Berg, S. Van Der, Rensburg, D. J. Van, Taylor, S., Africa, S., Africa, S., … Commons, C. (2012). Educational outcomes : Pathways and performance in South African high schools South African Journal of Science, 108, 6–13.

We are researching grass roots views of why there is such a problem with maths education in South Africa. See this page:

What are the causes of ‘problems’ in maths education in South Africa?

All schools in South Africa are placed in one of five quintiles, with quintile 1 being the poorest in terms of the poverty levels in the local community. We are working with schools in the Western Cape; this media release from the Western Cape Education Department provides more information.

Spaull, N. (2013b). South Africa’s Education Crisis : The quality of education in South Africa 1994-2011 (Vol. 27).

EFA Global monitoring. (2013). Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all. Paris.

Bilbao-Osorio, B., Dutta, S., & Lanvin, B. (2014). The Global Information Technology Report 2014: Rewards and Risks of Big Data. Geneva.