South Africa’s education system remains fundamentally dysfunctional and unequal. Access to education might have increased since 1994, but the quality of education remains too low to empower the nation. Today, South Africa’s education system is ranked as amongst the worst in the world, thanks to the gross mismanagement and over-politicisation of educational institutions.

We must act as one to address the challenges of our education system:

  • Weak institutional functionality: implementation of national policies varies significantly from region to region, indicating an institutional administration in disarray.
  • Undue union influence: unions interfere with the ability of the education system to act in the best interests of learners by reducing accountability and compromising the quality of education through self-serving behaviour.
  • Weak teacher content knowledge and pedagogical skill: teachers generally lack basic levels of content and pedagogical (teaching) skills, with one study finding that 79% of teachers displayed content knowledge below the grade that they are teaching at.
  • Wasted learning time and insufficient opportunity to learn: because there are limited resources and accountability, most children will miss more than half of the prescribed curriculum and half of the scheduled classes per year. On average, learners only write one paragraph in their books for 6 weeks they spend at school.
  • Curriculum: the current curriculum does not provide learners with skills required for gainful employment in a fast-changing labour market, nor does it empower young people to start their own businesses.
  • Post-matric and adult education: our education system does not do enough to provide education options to adults that were denied access to quality education, and the post-matric education options are not aligned with the needs of the labour market.

What We Believe

Our Solutions Blueprint

  • Depoliticise the administration of education by eradicating the stranglehold that unions have over education policy and the administration of schools.
  • Professionalise the administration of education by reforming the Department of Education and implementing progressive career development mechanisms for school administrators.
  • Allow educational and pedagogical experts to develop a sustainable and progressive curriculum centred on promoting a culture of life-long learning and critical thinking.
  • Restore the 50%-minimum pass requirement and actively empower learners to achieve the necessary educational outcomes.
  • Align the education curriculum with current and future labour market needs.
  • Implement skills development that allows young people to become employers rather than employees.
  • Improve the learning environment provided by all schools through an infrastructure development and maintenance programme.
  • Improve teacher education and capacitation by increasing the standards of teacher education, attracting talented young people to the teaching profession and partnering with the private sector for skills development.
  • Improve the working conditions of teachers by reducing the amount of content in the curriculum, training and employing teaching assistants and focusing on skills development.
  • Increase the accountability of teachers and school supervisors by reintroducing school inspectors.
  • Encourage community structures to take ownership of the education journey by facilitating partnerships between schools, the community which they serve, the private sector, non-profit organisations and government.
  • Ensure that all South African children have access to free primary and secondary education.
  • Implement targeted and far-reaching programmes to ensure that all South African children can read for meaning by the age of 10.
  • Introduce innovative mixed-medium teaching methods that allow the use of technological advances in teaching, focusing on mathematical, scientific and critical thinking skills.
  • Support mother-language education in the early years of schooling, but also require that English be taught as a second language from the first grade.
  • Introduce community-based sport and cultural clubs to ensure that all children have access to sporting and cultural activities.
  • Expand access to early childhood development by providing more funding for ECD facilities.
  • Prioritise the development of under-performing schools, and ensure that schools in lower socio-economic communities can provide a high-quality education to its learners.
  • Introduce specialised education in the 10th grade, allowing students to pursue a general academic, artisanal training or computer sciences specialisation.
  • Empower South Africa’s youth to be resilient and adaptable in a changing world, and ensure that they are capable of thriving in a new economy.
  • Provide incentives to students wishing to pursue tertiary education in fields where skills are scarce.
  • Partner with private-sector financial institutions to provide all students with personalised, low-interest funding that allows for flexible repayment, in accordance with each student’s needs.
  • Increase funding available for scientific and technological research to encourage South African ingenuity and creativeness.
  • Address the challenge of employability by improving skills development programmes and the performance of sectoral education and training agencies.