Achieve universal primary education

Where we are?


Primary education in South Africa is characterised by very high rates of enrollment and retention. These rates show strong gender equity, and where small differences do exist, they are in the girl child’s favour. Universal primary education is already effectively a reality. The adjusted net enrollment ratios show that primary education is hovering on 98% by 2009 up from 96% in 2002. At this level almost the same proportion of boys of school going- age and similarly that for girls are in school. Completion rates of primary education have also improved from 89.6% in 2002 to 93.8% in 2009. These completion rates are also accompanied by improving literacy rates that reach 93%.

South Africa has in effect achieved the goal of universal primary education before the year 2015, and its education system can now be recognised as having attained near universal access. However, if this achievement is to be translated into educational transformation in
a meaningful way, serious interventions are needed to improve the quality and functionality of education. This is especially required within the historically black and chronically underperforming section of South Africa’s schooling system. In this regard, government is currently scaling up already existing initiatives and developing new ones.  Successive post-apartheid administrations are aware of the challenges and put in place a battery of initiatives to improve and strengthen the quality of basic education with the current government.

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