Maverick Citizen

EDUCATION

Experts concerned over low throughput rate of Grade 10s to matric

Experts concerned over low throughput rate of Grade 10s to matric
(Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

The National Advisory Council on Innovation has registered a concern over the Grade 10 throughput rate and warned that the government’s target of 75% of university academic staff having doctorates by 2030 is likely to fall short.

The throughput rate of Grade 10 learners remains a concern despite the impressive matric pass rate of 80.1% last year, the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) has said.

The NACI released its 2023 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Report to Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday, 10 August.

The report, compiled by high-level experts, does not offer a wide range of recommendations, but includes data from various sources including the Department of Basic Education to assist the government and those wishing to conduct further studies. 

The report stated that the Grade 10 throughput rate of 66.8% was worrying. The throughput rate is the Grade 10 learners who eventually wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Matric Class of 2022 should be celebrated, but results not accurate ‘barometer’ for education system — experts

The report found that 37.2% of those who sat for the NSC exams in 2022 were eligible to study for a bachelor’s degree, the majority of whom were female, and that 4.2% of the 2022 NSC cohort passed with distinction.

“For mathematics, both participation rate and pass rate are low (37.2% and 55.0%, respectively),” the report read.

Independent schools performed even better than fee-paying public schools in mathematics and physical science, but relatively poorly in technical mathematics.

The proportion of learners that passed mathematics with distinctions declined from 3.2% in 2020 to 2.7% in 2022.

Physical science showed a similar trend.

‘Faltering PhD target’

The report also offered a glimpse of the developments in the higher education sector. It said that the target of 75% of academic staff at universities having a doctoral qualification by 2030 was unlikely to be achieved as less than half had a doctorate in 2021.

The proportion of staff over 60 years of age (both men and women) increased from 7.3% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2020.

“This trend implies that public universities will lose about 10% of permanent staff with doctoral qualifications due to retirement within the next five years,” the report read.

The proportion of staff aged 20 to 29 declined from 7.9% in 2011 to 5.8% in 2020.

“Although there is an increase in the proportion of staff aged 30 to 39, this increase is lower than that of staff aged over 60. Therefore, there is a need to intensify young academic staff support instruments such as the New Generation of Academics Programme,” the report read.

Hi-tech jobs data 

The report found that between 2012 and 2021, there was an increase in high-technology employment in all provinces except Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

“However, it must be noted that these increases are from a low base. On the other hand, employment in medium-technology sectors declined in all the provinces. Similarly, except for the Northern Cape and North West, employment in low-technology sectors has also declined.” DM

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