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The obvious gap between Australian and South African Education

It seems that better educational prospects in the South Pacific nation is supported by the recent findings of a ministerial task team who conducted a study into the South African educational system and the findings are that South Africa has one of the poorest-performing school education systems in the world.

The Obvious Gap Between Australian And South African Education

The report recommended that the education department consider making mathematics a compulsory subject, while it was also urged to increase the minimal pass rate, which currently stands at 30% - suggestions which Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said she would take into consideration.


The report stated that, “there is no escaping the conclusion that South Africa has one of the poorest performing school education systems in the world”.

And to rub salt in the wounds another study confirmed the findings of the ministerial study saying South Africa’s maths and science education has again been shown to be among the worst in the world – second last – according to the largest ever global school rankings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). These shock findings put the country behind only Ghana.

The OECD findings are based on the test scores of 15-year-olds from 76 countries.

The maths and science rankings were based on a combination of international assessments, the OECD’s PISA test, the TIMMS tests, and TERCE tests conducted in Latin America stated the report.

Immigrating to Australia in search of a quality education is supported by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics who placed Australia’s educational system, and the quality of the graduates delivered within the Top 20 world countries at number 14 overall while South Africa made a completely different ranking – being placed second last overall of the 75 countries considered.

The rankings are:

Top 20 countries

1 Singapore
2 Hong Kong
3 South Korea
4 Japan
4 Taiwan
6 Finland
7 Estonia
8 Switzerland
9 Netherlands
10 Canada
11 Poland
12 Vietnam
13 Germany
14 Australia
15 Ireland
16 Belgium
17 New Zealand
18 Slovenia
19 Austria
20 United Kingdom
South Africa featured in the bottom 10 schools
76 Ghana
75 South Africa
74 Honduras
73 Morocco
72 Oman
71 Peru
70 Botswana
69 Indonesia
68 Qatar
67 Columbia

Worst still is that the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its Global Information Technology Report 2015. This scalding report ranked South Africa last in the quality of mathematics and science education.

South Africa also finished close to last – 139 out of 143 countries – when looking at the overall quality of its education system.

According to this ranking system South Africa’s mathematics and science education quality is lower than countries considered being third world economies such as Angola, the Dominican Republic, and Mozambique which all performed better than South Africa.

The figures says it all and when Australian and South African educational systems are compared, the gap is astonishing.

Australia                                                   South Africa

Average years of schooling of adults
10.9                                                           6.1

Children out of school
68,417                                                        656,487

Compulsory education duration
11 years                                                      9 years

High school enrolment rate
99.86%                                                       93.52%

Literacy Total population
99%                                                           86.4%

Pupil-teacher ratio, primary
17.88                                                          29.5

Tertiary Education enrolment
63.3%                                                        15.2%


Children of school going age seem to have an obvious advantage in Australia which produces many more High School graduates and Tertiary Education graduates than South Africa. Not only does Australia deliver more graduates they also do so in a competitive international environment adding more credit to an Australian High School or University diploma.

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