2012 UPATE: Second-chance opportunities to obtain a qualification are critical
At the end of November 2012, the Department of Basic Education released the results of its Annual National Assessment tests – a means to establish learner capacity in basic literacy and numeracy. While the results in some instances pointed to isolated improvements, the overall picture remains bleak. Findings such as the one suggesting that only 13 per cent of Grade 9 learners have the requisite mathematics skills for their age explain why South Africa was ranked 143 out of 144 countries for maths and science education in the World Economic Forum’s 2012/13 Global Competitiveness Index. Although not the sole cause, a deficient education system still continues to entrench high levels of unemployment – and hence poverty – in an economy characterised by a stark imbalance between the demand for and supply of skilled labour.