Is S.Africa’s education system failing its learners? - CNBC Africa

Is S.Africa’s education system failing its learners?

Southern Africa

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Current pupils may not have the skills they need for prospective employment opportunities. PHOTO: Getty Images

“The ANC's obsession with transformation has resulted in them taking their eye off the proverbial educational ‘ball’ and failing our children and South Africa in the process. The critical question remains whether learners are practically qualified for further studies, whether they're competent to enter the labour market and off course, whether there are jobs for them. South Africa is performing dismally in all of these areas at this stage,” said Gerhard Papenfus, chief executive of the National Employers' Association of South Africa (NEASA).

“NEASA therefore agrees with University of Free State vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen that the pass rate should be raised to 50 per cent and not the current rate of 30 per cent in some subjects and 40 per cent in others. I fully support this notion, however the 50 per cent should be deserving and reliable and not a politically correct manipulated pass rate.”

According to the employers' association, research shows that unsatisfactory language, comprehension and numeracy skills are just some of the challenges facing the education system.

“Over and above an insufficient technical curriculum, the current curriculum does not give priority to vocational training, resulting in a situation where the education system fails to supply potential workers with basic skills such as reading and writing that employers need for clerical work,” Papenfus said.

“Without these skills it is unlikely that employers will give these prospective employees work opportunities.”

He added that employers regard some matric certificates with great suspicion and that it is irresponsible of government to create expectations of a better future among matriculants while sending them out without tertiary clearance and unsuitable for the labour market.