The skills cline: higher education and the supply-demand complex in South Africa

SOURCE: Higher Education
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Cosser
KEYWORDS: GRADUATES, HIGHER EDUCATION, SKILLS PROFILE, SKILLS SHORTAGE
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6166

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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between Grade 12 learner preferences for study in higher education, student enrolment in higher education programmes, and student graduations in different programme areas, considering the match between these supply-side indicators and a forecast of skills demand in South Africa as a first step towards ascertaining the extent to which the higher education system is meeting the demand for skills in the labour market. While learner preferences are predominantly for study in the field of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), student graduations are predominantly in the Humanities. And since a large proportion of scarce-skills areas are SET-related, this creates a mismatch that has implications for the economic development of the country. Simultaneously, however, the demand for educators (school teachers and academics) is even greater: the strongest discrete demand is for educators, followed by that for managers. The paper concludes by urging more concerted development of teachers and managers.