Government has recently published a ‘review’ of South Africa’s first 25 years of democracy, focusing on some of the successes and failures of the ANC government post-1994.
A key focus of the review is education, with the government highlighting the number of South Africans that have achieved a matric certificate and bachelor’s degree over the last 25 years.
“Learner performance in Grade 12 National Senior Certificate (NSC) has been on an upward trajectory, rising from 58% in 1994 to 78.2% in 2018,” the review states.
“The number of students who are passing grade 12 is on an upward trajectory even though it has fluctuated over the years.”
“The below figure shows that bachelor passes are still very low even though they are increasing over time, they are not enough to support the skills needs of the country.”
More learners from lower quintiles are passing the NSC and showed improvements in international assessments, the review states.
Despite these improvements, the review notes that there are issues with the ‘quality of academic outcomes’.
Only 172,043 learners (33.6%) of grade 12 students managed to pass at bachelor level in 2018, against the 255,000 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) target for 2018, it said.
“Though up from 18% in 1994, only 21.7% and 29.9% of learners passed mathematics and science at 50% and above respectively in 2018. The number of learners writing physical science and mathematics has been declining from 192,618 and 265,810 in 2016 to 172,319 and 233 858 in 2018, respectively.”
“The shackle of Bantu education that black children and women should not be taught mathematics and science still casts a shadow over the education system,” it said.