The 99% that will not get a degree

2016-10-29 14:35

99% Of kids who start school will not get a university degree

A 100 kids start school. Twelve years later only half of them sits in a Matric class. And three to four years after that, only one of them will have a university degree. Maybe South Africa is just not very good at education?

Ninety nine percent of children who start school will not get a degree from a university within the expected amount of time. So what happens to them? What happens to the 99% that get left behind?

School drop-out rates

Our schools are struggling to offer quality education. According to this article, Grade 9's Average Score 10,8% For Maths, by the time the average scholar gets to Grade 9 (Standard 7), their literacy rate is at 48% and numeracy level at 11%.

At the end of Grade 9 you start your three-year studies to get a Matric. So if at the start of that journey the student is already barely literate, and not numerate, it is easy to understand why so many of them will give up before getting a Matric Certificate.

These numbers were determined by means of the Annual National Assessments (ANA). The ANA will however no longer be continued in their current form.

University drop-out rates

According to this article from 2007, "student drop-out rates alarming", 40% of university students drop out in their first year. And only 15% will finish their degrees in the allotted time. The key reason for the drop-outs is financial difficulty. Which goes to explain the current protests about university fees... 70% of drop-out students came from low-income families.

Very low maths and science education might also play a role. Taking the "easy" subjects at school and then going to university, means many students are not ready for higher education when they get to university.

Getting into a university is no guarantee that you will get a degree.

The alternatives to a university degree

We have Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges as an alternative to university education. According to Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, "ninety two percent of students in our public TVET colleges are studying for free."

The Deputy Minister acknowledge that TVET College has an image problem. He noted that "the days of undermining TVET colleges are over as government has now rebranded them to be institutions of choice".

And we have a well-established private education sector. Boston College, Oxbridge Academy, SACOB and Skills Academy... to name just a few. Note that I work for Skills Academy!

What happens if you improve your education?

If you complete grade 10 and stop your education there, your chances of employment is 52%. Complete grade 12 and your chances of employment goes up to 67%. Complete just one year of studies beyond Matric, and your chances of employment goes up to 86%.

Anything we do to improve someone's education, is good

When 99% of kids who start school don't get a degree, we have to stop the myth that getting a degree is a sensible goal. Anything we do, to get someone just one more year of education, improves their chances of getting a job significantly. That is where we should focus. Compulsory schooling ends at grade 9... maybe that is a starting point.

About the Author:

Jan Badenhorst works as the CEO of Skills Academy. Skills Academy offers Home Study Courses to people who never completed Matric, or who cannot get entry into Universities.

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