National Context

Education: National Context

  • Government's budget for education in 2021/22 was R387 billion, marginally up from R385 billion in 2020/21, and constituting 19% of the consolidated government expenditure of R2 trillion.

  • Schoolchildren lost more than 54% of learning time from the beginning of the Covid-19 prevention measures to the end of the first half of the 2021 academic year, and according to the Wave 5 National Income Dynamics Study – Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) an estimated 750 000 children of schoolgoing age have dropped out of school since the onset of the pandemic (see case study).

  • According to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), 1 106 827 grade 1 learners enrolled in 2009, yet only 578 468 full-time candidates – 52%, an increase from last year’s 45% – sat for the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. They achieved a pass rate of 76.2%, a 5.1 percentage point drop from 2019.

  • Analysis done by the DBE using the Personnel and Salary System PERSAL showed that 1 678 of a total of approximately 410 000 educators (0.4%) have died from Covid-19 complications since the start of the pandemic to February 2021.

  • Between December 2020 and March 2021, the DBE received 808 000 applications for employment opportunities through the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative, of which 320 315 youth were placed in public schools across all nine provinces to work as educator assistants and general education assistants.

  • The higher education budget for 2021/22 was R115 billion. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) received 799 017 applications in 2021, with 623 386 students being funded as at June 2021. Some 67% of the new applicants were South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) beneficiaries.

  • In mid-2020, more than 13 000 students took part in a study conducted by Higher Health and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on the impact of Covid-19 on youth in the post-school education system. The results indicated that 79% of students felt that they needed regular counselling during the pandemic, leading to the establishment of a 24-hour tollfree student helpline. Over 80% of university students received institutional support in the form of data bundles, data-free access to websites, and accessing online learning platforms, while 38% of students in the vocational and training subsector reported that their colleges offered virtual learning.

Source details: Trialogue Business in Society handbook 2021