The production of high level science, engineering and technology skills: role of the Dinaledi project
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The production of high level SET skills in one of the most critical supply-side factors enabling or constraining the growth of any industrial economy. We use the production of graduate engineers by South African universities as a key indicator of the capacity of the education system to deliver high level SET skills. We argue that the production of engineers, in turn, is severely constrained, by the low capacity of the high school sector to deliver matriculants with higher grade qualifications in mathematics, and also of primary schools to develop an adequate foundation in literacy and numeracy. Government is attempting to address this problem in the long term through an improvement in the quality of primary schooling. It is also, through the Dinaledi project, attempting to provide short-term improvement in the supply of high quality matriculants to the higher education system. This paper looks at the role of Dinaledi, its impact to date and the prospects of its expansion.