The World Economic Forum (WEF) published its “Global Information Technology Report 2014”, which shows that South Africa has the worst quality of mathematics and science education of all the countries surveyed.
The report provides an assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to promote economic growth and well-being.
The report ranks the progress of 148 economies in leveraging ICTs to increase productivity, economic growth and the number of quality jobs.
According to the report, South Africa’s education system is of very poor quality – ranked at 146 out of 148 countries.
When looking at the quality of mathematics and science education, South Africa was ranked last, hence at 148 out of 148 countries.
This means that South Africa’s mathematics and science education quality is worse than Angola, Mozambique, Gabon and various other developing nations.
South Africa facing ICT challenges
South Africa’s poor education quality, especially in mathematics and science, does not bode well for the country.
The WEF said that skills and education, especially in mathematics and science, are needed for a society to make effective use of ICTs. This is mostly absent in South Africa.
In November 2013, Naspers CEO Koos Bekker warned that South Africa’s poor education system is hurting Internet developments and investments in the country by not developing enough engineers to drive the country forward.
“To get an engineer you need a kid who is enthused about mathematics, and is prepared to study engineering at university,” said Bekker.
“Regrettably our education system is so poor it simply does not yield the mathematics geniuses we need to go to university to become engineers.”
He added that Naspers has already started to bring in engineers from India to supplement their own people in South Africa to execute the company’s e-commerce strategy.