Education in South Africa: hits and misses over the past 25 years

CATEGORY: Education and Skills Development
DATE: 20 June 2019

State of the Nation addresses are delivered at the start of South Africa’s parliamentary year. They focus on the current political and socio-economic state, highlight progress made and signal new policy directions for national government. It is a grand red carpet event, and the public (and markets) expectantly await reports of progress and new hope.

We reviewed 25 years of the education priorities set out in the annual address since the first by President Nelson Mandela in 1994. The review revealed that there’s been success in early childhood development, infrastructure and social protection. But quality and learning outcomes remain elusive. We found that while it’s easy to report on access and inputs, it’s much more difficult to achieve educational quality and meaningful outcomes as there are many intangible factors that impede progress.

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