South Africa: Education Inequality Narrowing, Very Slowly


The 2019 matric results show that efforts to improve equality in education are succeeding, according to the government. Schools in poor areas scored strong gains and some provinces with resource constraints showed significant improvements. But the progress is nominal and challenges vast.

Policies to improve education for the poor are working, according to the Department of Basic Education's (DBE) National Senior Certificate Examination Report 2019, which provides detailed information on matric results.

In 2019, the number of schools in quintiles one to three, which are low-income areas, that achieved a matric pass rate over 80% increased from 1,961 in 2018 to 2,484 in 2019.

"This confirms that the pro-poor policies of government are beginning to work," reads the report.

Some of the strongest improvements in the 2019 matric results came from schools in low-income areas that are historically under-resourced and lag behind provinces like Gauteng and Western Cape.

Responding to the matric results, which were announced on Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa's office said "the divide between so-called 'rich' schools and poorer schools was steadily narrowing".

Overall matric pass rates can be misleading. Looking at the quality of results, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that in 2005 the top...

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