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Fri Sep 30 00:08:52 SAST 2016

Deep-seated racial and social inequalities in matric results‚ survey finds

TMG Digital | 09 February, 2016 15:03
“The quality of mathematics education generally is very poor in South Africa despite the fact that the economy is transitioning away from less-skilled primary and secondary industries towards the more highly-skilled tertiary sector. File photo
Image by: Lebohang Nthongoa

A survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has found deep-seated racial and social inequalities in South Africa’s matric results.

“The data reveals that 20 years into our democracy not nearly enough has been done to deliver high-quality education to black people‚” said the IRR’s CEO‚ Dr Frans Cronjé.

According to data obtained from the Department of Basic Education‚ only 35% of matric candidates who wrote mathematics in 2014 achieved a grade of 40% or above. When the data was broken down by race group it became apparent that 83% of white candidates obtained a grade of 40% and above as opposed to 69.7% of Indian candidates‚ 46.3% of coloured candidates‚ and just 28.5% of African candidates‚ the IRR said.

The IRR report also broke down levels of educational achievement by living standards quintile. The data showed strong correlations between living standards and educational outcomes. For example‚ in the poorest quintile‚ only 5.9% of candidates passed mathematics in matric with a grade of 60% of higher. In the wealthiest quintile‚ the figure was 23.3%.

“The quality of mathematics education generally is very poor in South Africa despite the fact that the economy is transitioning away from less-skilled primary and secondary industries towards the more highly-skilled tertiary sector.

“This will continue to depress economic growth levels and job creation while hobbling any expansion of the middle class. South African policy makers must also be careful that other African economies do not become preferred destinations for high-tech and high-skilled investment‚” said Dr Cronjé.

He added that “the IRR has made several proposals on how to improve the quality of schooling in South Africa – especially via voucher systems and contract schooling – but to date policy makers seem intent to persist with a model of State-led schooling that is failing”.

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