Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

More than half of South Africa’s youth cannot fund their tuition

Higher education fee are too expenses to study1.4 million youth reported they did not attend any South African educational institutions as they did not have the money for fees.

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According to the “Higher Education and Skills in South Africa” report released by Statistics South Africa, 51% of South Africa’s youth aged 18–24 claim that they do not have funds to pay for their tuition. 

The report uses data from the General Household Survey (GHS) 2017 and provides insight and data around South Africa’s Higher Education system.

The numbers

Of the 33,8% of youth aged 18–24 that were attending educational institutions, 22,2% were attending school while 11,6% were attending post-school educational institutions.

The good news is that enrolment in post-school learning was moving upwards. The total enrolment in higher education institutions in 2016 amounted to 49,9% of all enrolments within the sector.

The downside? Although stats showed an increase, there was still a gender disparity as more females were enrolled than male.

Females made up 58% of participation in 2016 at public higher educational institutions (universities) and  57% at TVET colleges.

The courses that saw the most enrolment:  business, commerce and management sciences, education or engineering

According to the report, the number of graduates from public higher universities more than doubled from 92 874 in 2000 to 203 076 in 2016.

In 2016, the number of graduates from TVET and private colleges stood at 135 492.

There are still many challenges

It seems the higher education system still has challenges in terms of success rates and poor completion rates.

For those who manage to stay within the system, the time taken to complete their undergraduate qualification has improved over time but figures still show a big drop out rate. Once again females made up the highest percentage of graduates.

Of those who do finish, very few continue to post – grad.

Very few students progress to advanced NQF levels of study (NQF levels 8–10). Honours (19,8%), masters (6,3%) and doctoral studies (1,4%) accounted for a relatively small percentage of the overall tertiary qualifications awarded in 2016.

Statistics South Africa

The report also showed the difference in participation equity for students from low-income backgrounds. 

36% of youth aged 20–24 years holding postgraduate degrees or qualifications equivalent to NQF Levels 8–10 came from the highest household income quintile.

47%  who held bachelor degrees or qualifications equivalent came from the highest household income quintile as well whilst only  7,4% of youth who held the same qualifications came from the lowest household income quintile.

Download and read the full report here.

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