Educational Quality in South Africa

As we are all aware that being able to educate yourself is a luxury. Learning a new language, a new word, history, an instrument and math can change our perspective of life. Also, being educated and having this broad perspective open new doors in our future. For the most part, our entire future depends on our education. However, people in South Africa are deprived of receiving a high-quality education. In this article, we will focus on the lack of high quality education in South Africa.

South Africa suffers from weak educational quality, despite relatively high levels of public spending on education. The country spends on average the equivalent to over 6 percent of its GDP on education.About half of South Africa’s students dropout of school before completing secondary education. Among the learners who write the end of high school examinations, about a quarter fail. Moreover, less than 5 percent of students who start primary school end up with a university qualification. 

As we see, education in South Africa is in a state of crisis. Failure to deliver textbooks, limited support available to schools, ineffective districts, under-qualified teachers, poor matriculation results, and low performance in national and international assessments is symptomatic of a fundamental problem in education. Even though, since 1994, South Africa attempted to give more accessible and quality education, children in South Africa are still largely contingent on which side of the inequality divide they are born. Because of poverty and inequality, children lack their rights to receive basic education. 

“From birth to the final year of high school, children born into poverty face a range of obstacles that their wealthy peers do not.”


While providing quality early learning and basic education has its own challenges, keeping children in the education system to complete their education is another. Just over a quarter of South Africa’s students dropout of school before the end of ninth grade. The data shows that the majority of whom are from poor areas and vulnerable to numerous barriers to education.

Another important issue in education in South Africa is gender inequality. This inequality worsens things for girls. Parents marry their girls off at a young age and, after their marriage, society frowns upon girls’ education. In addition, stereotyping is common in South Africa. Social norms place girls in a position that they shouldn’t be involved in “boy” jobs such as engineering, science, technology, and STEM related careers. This is an enormous obstacle for girls to get education in the field they want.Girls who have already received a low rate of education also fall further away from education if they are not allowed to receive education in areas that interest them.

“I don’t want this equality to remain. I want all children to receive an equal quality education, where everyone can lead their own future.” If you are thinking this way, let’s focus on ways to improve education in SA. 

  •  Providing better technology in schools such as tablets
  • Upgrading infrastructure, building down mud schools and building ones, building libraries to provide a proper learning environment
  • Increasing wages of teachers
  • Providing allowances for working in rural areas and scarce skills
  • Volunteering as teachers

Here is an overview of educational conditions in South Africa:


A. (2017, July 28). 10 ways to improve education in SA. You.

Craddock, A. (2018, December 17). Education in South Africa. WENR.

International Monetray Fund. (2019). Struggling to Make the Grade: A Review of the Causes and Consequences of the Weak Outcomes of South Africa’s Education System.

South Africa’s broken and unequal education laid bare. (2020, February 11). Amnesty International.

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