‘Pass rate won’t help economic growth’

2012-01-05 14:33

It is doubtful whether an improved matric pass rate would be enough to support strong economic growth, the SA Chamber of Commerce said.

“The matric pass rate and the quality of education provided at public schools is a key determinant of South Africa’s ability to grow its economy,” the chamber’s chief executive Neren Rau said.

“Although the improvement in the pass rate is welcomed, it is questionable whether it is sufficient to support a strong economic growth rate trajectory.”

Some 70.2% of matrics passed last year’s exams, up from 67.8% in 2010. Of these, 24.3% obtained university entrance.

Rau said there was growing concern about the ability of public education to create employable school leavers.

A 2011 survey revealed that 55% of chamber members thought a lack of skilled labour was a serious obstacle to economic growth. Members ranked education as the government portfolio in greatest need of attention.

Rau said matriculants entering the job market in 2012 would face a low number of opportunities and an unwillingness by businesses to invest in training.

He called on the government to address weaknesses in the education system, to help stimulate the economy.

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