Matric pupils at Meadowlands Secondary School in Soweto write their English exam. File Picture: SOWETAN
Matric pupils at Meadowlands Secondary School in Soweto write their English exam. File Picture: SOWETAN

Durban — South African graduate professionals have little confidence in the country’s schooling system. More than 70% of 6‚000 graduate professionals surveyed by financial services provider‚ Professional Provident Society (PPS)‚ believe that it is unrealistic that the national development plan goal would see pupils in grades 3‚ 6 and 9 achieving more than 50% for literacy‚ maths and science by the year 2030.

The main reasons cited by respondents were an inadequate school system and lack of quality teachers.

On free education‚ 33% of graduates were of the opinion that the government should allocate more funds for education subsidies.

Nic Spaull‚ senior researcher in the economics department at Stellenbosch University‚ said the sentiments expressed by the graduates are "quite widely shared in South Africa". "We know our education system is holding us back from reaching our social and economic potential. That said, it’s also worth mentioning that there are signs our education system is improving."

Spaull said the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study‚ which assesses a nationally representative sample of South African grade 9 students in maths and science‚ had shown that they had improved quite substantially compared to both 2003 and 2011.

"While much more still needs to be done, we must acknowledge there are significant signs of progress‚" he said. Spaull’s biggest concern is that "58% of South African grade 4 learners are not learning to read for meaning in any language. These students start and remain behind for their entire schooling career. We need to focus on getting the basics right in the foundation phase."

PPS’s Motshabi Nomvete said the survey results were concerning. "There is very little confidence in the schooling system," she said. "The results of the survey reveal there needs to be more initiatives aimed at improving the schooling system for graduate professionals to have greater confidence in the system‚ and to produce even more skilled professionals‚ especially in the areas of science‚ technology‚ engineering and maths."

TMG Digital

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