Difference between black and white students failure rate a 'horror’

2016-11-16 15:13
Statistics SA statistician-general Pali Lehohla. (File)

Statistics SA statistician-general Pali Lehohla. (File)

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Cape Town - The number of black students who graduate from university compared to their white counterparts is totally unacceptable, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

South Africa's Statistician General Pali Lehohla on Wednesday presented the financial statistics of higher education institutions for 2015.

He painted a bleak picture that he said needed to be addressed by making education a priority.

If one looked at progression rates, he said, black people were not doing well.

In the 80s, he said, for every black graduate there were 1.2 white graduates.

Currently, for every one black person who graduates from university, there are six white people who make it through successfully.

Dropping out

"These numbers are declaring a horror, to put it bluntly. It is totally unacceptable," he said.

Lehohla blamed a high dropout rate among black students for the statistics.

"There are several reasons, but you find that their stories are the same. When a 17-year-old with no money is admitted at university and funded for education, but does not have money for food, or accommodation or some other essential, they drop out. Where else can they get money to sustain themselves?" he said to the committee.

There were instances where students failed because of partying, drugs and alcohol, he said.

"We all did that at university. But this rate of failure is not because all of them do drugs and drink. It can't be, there has to be a different explanation," he said.

Education was only number 18 on the list of priorities for politicians and it would continue to be a problem until it was prioritised, he said referring to the results of a survey conducted by his office.

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