SA pupils are happy in school – to a point

2014-03-26 13:34

South African pupils start of being a happy bunch – but the further they get in their school careers, the more miserable they become.

Market research company Pondering Panda polled 5 000 pupils on behalf of the department of basic education, 76% of whom attend public schools.

The rest came from private schools and Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

About 44% of all pupils surveyed said they were happy.

“Happiness decreased and stress increased as pupils progressed through the grades, indicating increase in academic pressure as one gets older,” the researchers said.

About 11% of pupils surveyed said they were depressed, and 7% described themselves as “sad”.

“How prepared and confident pupils felt for their coming exams had a direct effect on both happiness and stress, with stress increasing as confidence decreased and happiness decreasing as confidence decreased,” the researchers wrote in a summary of their findings.

Most of the pupils (66%) had high regard for their teachers, saying they put extra effort to prepare them for exams.

“Pupils in the Northern Cape (77%) had the highest regard for how well their teachers prepared them,” Pondering Panda reported.

About 27% said their teachers were “okay” but could do better, and 7% saying teachers were downright bad.

The report also found that pupils at public schools were significantly more likely not to have help with their homework when compared with their counterparts in private schools and FET colleges.

There were also stark differences between pupils from different race groups.

“Notably, more white pupils had tutors to assist them than black pupils [16% versus 10%]. Similarly, more black pupils didn’t have access to any help compared to their white counterparts [23% versus 15%].”

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