What is the Role of Education in a Better Economy?

South Africa’s education system is often described as being in turmoil, as South Africa’s Minister of Education, Angie Motshekga openly admits that the country’s schools are in a state of crisis at a recent gathering. “If 25% of students fail, we must have sleepless nights, this is akin to a national crisis,” as she is quoted in local media.

Education in South Africa

Education in South Africa is governed by two national departments, namely the department of Basic Education (DBE), which is responsible for primary and secondary schools, and the department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which is responsible for tertiary education and vocational training. It is funny to think that South Africa spends a bigger share of its gross domestic product on education than any other country in Africa, yet performance levels are lower than in many other countries on the continent. The truth is, education in South Africa is in a predicament, just head on over here and no doubt you won’t be surprised to see what headlines are floating around on the current state of education.

In the 2016 People’s Guide to the Budget, it’s noted that expanding access to post-school education and training remains a priority for Government in order to produce the skills necessary to fill jobs, and in turn, boost the economy on its road to recovery. The role of education is to provide those that participate, prospects of a better future with way more opportunities. In light of the recent student protests at universities nationwide regarding fee increases, the fact was clear that the current state of education in South Africa isn’t living up to the expectations of those that participate. Although, Government has committed to skills development programs, internships, apprenticeships, and partnerships with vocational colleges, universities, and the labour market, to provide students with opportunities. These, along with no fee increases for 2016, should kick-start the important role of education in South Africa.

The time is now

The role of education as a public good should be regarded as essential to the development of the citizens of a society. Public resources must be used in ways that can support and create ideas and practices which enhance the economy as a whole. As Angie Motshekga states that partnerships between parents and education institutions are key, as parents that sit back and become part of the cheerleading club leads to problems because they contaminate the environment instead of correcting it. Lastly, there is hope, it’s not all doom and gloom. Under difficult circumstances, there are many education institutions that are producing well-educated students every year.

Feel free to make use of Fincheck to compare student loans if you’re in need of one! In the fight for education, we’ll leave you with these well spoken words:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.


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