Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

South Africans are obtaining qualifications at a faster rate than the country’s economy is growing, according to South African Qualifications Authority data.

The proportion of South Africans getting qualifications has risen consistently by 4% year on year, but growth stagnated to 0.3% in 2016.

This means that there is a surplus of qualified people who cannot be absorbed into the mainstream economy.

The qualifications authority is able to assess trends and report on significant aspects of the education and training system by using the National Learners Records Database, an electronic record-keeping system.

The qualifications authority’s data analysis shows that higher education qualifications almost tripled between 1995 and 2014 from 70,020 to 202,653. The most popular fields of study were business, commerce and management studies, which constituted 29% of qualifications obtained in that period.

Education, training and development, and health sciences and social services qualifications were also popular. Women also showed improvements in the number of qualifications they achieved.

Nursing qualifications saw the biggest increase at 252%, having gone from 6,834 in 1995 to 24,028 in 2013. The South African Nursing Council estimated that, out of a population of more than 54-million people, SA had nursing manpower of 278,617 registered nurses.

Qualifications authority CEO Joe Samuels said: "It [data] shows us clearly what the areas of successful implementation are, but also points to areas that need our collective attention."

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