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Despite receiving about 20% of the national budget, South Africa’s education system is characterised by crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms, and poor educational outcomes, all of which perpetuate inequality and fail many of its children. The coronavirus pandemic has added to these challenges by disrupting the academic year, and highlighting the sector’s need to rethink its approach to digital teaching platforms. The sector is unprepared to equip students with technological, critical thinking and problem solving skills. It was estimated that by early August, South African children would have lost between 30 and 59 days of school, depending on their grade, due to coronavirus shutdowns.
Reduced budgets to basic education funding have been a growing trend over the past decade and while spending on basic education per learner has reduced, increases in teacher salaries have outpaced increases in overall educational expenditure.
More than three quarters of children aged nine cannot read for meaning. This is as high as 91% in Limpopo and 85% in the Eastern Cape. Of 100 learners that start school, 50 to 60 will make it to matric, 40 to 50 will pass matric, and only 14 will go to university. Government has committed to improving foundational skills of literacy and numeracy, rolling out a coding and robotics curriculum, working to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to teach literacy and numeracy, and revising the minimum requirements for teacher education qualifications, dealing with quality and efficiency and eliminating the digital divide.
This report focuses on South Africa’s public and private education sector, including information on the state and size of the sector, education budgets, learning outcomes, developments in the public and private sectors and the effect of coronavirus on the sector and education outcomes. There are profiles of 53 companies and institutions, including state institutions such as universities and education departments, major education companies such as Curro, ADvTECH and Educor and business schools such as Regent and Regenesys.