Half of SA unhappy with education: Survey

By Drum Digital
17 July 2012

Only half of South Africans are happy with the education system in their area, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

"While 64 percent of metro adults feel that South Africa's education system is good, only 54 percent are happy with the education system in their area," research company TNS South Africa said in a statement.

It warned that unhappiness over education could lead to protests.

"That, overall, over a third of people are unhappy with the education system as they experience it, suggests that this could very easily become a flash point.

"TNS has shown in the past that, once dissatisfaction with service delivery reaches a third of people, protests become a possibility."

Over half of respondents were concerned about mathematics, with only 45 percent saying South African pupils do well in this field.

The findings are based on two studies undertaken among 2000 adults in eight metropolitan areas in the first five months of this year, and before the Limpopo textbooks debacle.

Thirty percent of respondents disagree that the education system is good, while 38 percent disagree that they are happy with the education system in their area.

"While there are no differences by sex, younger people are somewhat more satisfied than older people," TNS said.

Wealthier people were found to be less happy than poorer people.

"Afrikaans home-language speakers are the least satisfied, with only 41 percent saying that the system is good, and only 42 percent being happy at a local level."

The surveys found large differences between the race groups.

Seventy-two percent of blacks agree that South Africa's education system is good, compared to 47 percent of whites and 60 percent of Indians.

Half of black respondents felt South African pupils do well at maths, in contrast to 38 percent of whites.

The survey found notable differences in satisfaction about education across various areas of the country.

"Geographically, there are also notable differences, driven partly by the differing racial profiles of the different areas," TNS said.

"People in the Eastern Cape (especially Port Elizabeth) are the least happy overall, while those in Bloemfontein are the most satisfied."

One of the studies looked at the role of parents and teachers in education.

"Whilst nine out of ten people across the board feel that parents also have a responsibility when it comes to the education of their children, seven out of ten feel that parents are leaving the education of their children more and more to teachers."

TNS had carried out a similar survey last year, which showed that 52 percent of South Africans were happy about the quality of education, so not much had changed between then and these latest surveys.

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