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Lacklustre schools to limit South Africa skills plan

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Subject

The state of education and skills in South Africa.

Significance

The high school graduation rate declined for the first time in several years, to 75.8% in 2014 from 78.2% in 2013. The results of year-end National Senior Certificate examinations (NSC or 'matric') are popularly seen as an important indicator of the health of the educational system. However, taking the high dropout and 'throughput' rates into account means the effective pass rate is only 36% for the recent cohort.

Impacts

  • The low rate of PhDs earned -- 28 per one million citizens; compared to 48 in Brazil -- will constrain innovation in the economy.
  • The 2.3 billion dollar Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project will increase funding for niche scientific research.
  • Premiums placed on scarce managerial, professional and technical skills will drive salary increases -- exacerbating income inequality.
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