A key conclusion of the round-table talks organised by President Cyril Ramaphosa on how to get growth going is that SA’s education system just has to be fixed. Not only is it a central source of inequality, but without adequate skills the growth potential of the economy will remain capped. While the country has an abundant supply of low- and medium-skilled workers, only about 5% of South Africans attain a university degree and the stock of graduates consists of little more than 1-million people. Without addressing this constraint the economy will face a persistent skills shortage and will battle to raise economic growth by way of productivity gains or technological progress. In short, the failure of SA’s education system has become a binding constraint on economic growth. But the problem is much broader than the economy’s need for high-level skills. In SA, inequality persists across generations in large part because the basic schooling received by most poor children is too inadequat...

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