The recently released World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2015 ranks South Africa’s Maths and Science education last in the world.
Furthermore, when business people were asked “How well does the educational system in your country meet the needs of a competitive economy?” South Africa ranked 139 of 143 countries, ahead only of Egypt, Angola, Yemen and Libya.
Last year, when South Africa scored very low in the rankings, the Minister rejected the ratings, saying that the report was not scientific. While it is true that no tests are written for this ranking, it does gauge the perceptions of top business people on the quality of our education system.
If this is the way big business in SA views our education system, then we have a big problem. This report reflects that business people, who employ those coming out of our education system, have no faith that our children are being sufficiently prepared to meaningfully contribute to their businesses.
This perception basically means that because our education system is failing to adequately prepare our children for the working world, less of them are likely to be employed. This reality is illustrated by the fact that 66.2% of unemployed South Africans are youths.
The WEF ranking reflects that not only is there a crisis of quality education in our country, but there is also crisis of faith that the education system is able to prepare the youth to enter the job market.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is an in-depth international assessment of the teaching of mathematics and science. Grade 8 learners from around the world participate. In the last round in which South Africa participated in 2011, the efforts of Grade 9 candidates measured, and not Grade 8, as was the case for the rest of the world. On that occasion we performed third-worst in the world, ahead, only, of the Honduras and Ghana.
It must be understood that the WEF ranking does not reflect the ability of our learners, but an education system that is in crisis and that needs urgent intervention.
The ultimate aim of education must be to produce competitive citizens who are able to contribute successfully to the economy and who are equipped and empowered to build better lives for themselves and their families.
It is imperative that our education system is able to do this for the sake of the future of our children and our country.
Shadow Minister of Basic Education
Source : Democratic Alliance