No silver bullets to SA’s education challenges: Expert

Protest demanding equal education
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South Africa’s education system has had profound changes since the advent of democracy.

The apartheid system had 18 education departments, the distribution of resources was gravely skewed and the curriculum was racist and sexist.

25 years on, there’s only one national system and nine provincial education departments.

The curriculum speaks to issues of social justice, there are Early Childhood Development programmes, corporal punishment is banned and efforts to ensure equitable distribution of resources continue.

Despite these milestones, however, the country’s children trail behind comparable countries in literacy and numeracy.

For example, out of the 50 countries surveyed in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, South Africa came last.

78% of the country’s grade 4 learners can’t read for meaning, which is a stark contrast from other upper middle-income countries.

While few students complete a three-year degree in the allotted time, 40% of first graders ultimately drop out rather than complete the 12th Grade.

Our producer Lindiwe Mabena spoke to the Director of Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, Professor Salim Vally, on causes of poor learner outcomes in the country.

Watch full report below: