South Africa’s ‘waste of human capital’

An op-ed in South Africa’s Daily News argues that South Africa’s educational crisis is in large part due to a dearth of adequately prepared teachers. Many individuals who were trained in Zimbabwe and are now living in South Africa are prevented from working in the schools, says author Heidi Holland:

"Here we sit with the most sophisticated economy in Africa but an education system that is, by all informed accounts, worse than apartheid’s. With 40 percent unemployment and a crippling skills shortage, the [African National Congress] (ANC) government spends 6 percent of the country’s GDP and the biggest chunk of its annual budget on education, yet our school results have actually declined under ANC rule – not least because many teachers in the public sector are not properly trained.

Half of all pupils drop out before taking their final matric exam and only 11 percent get good enough passes to qualify for university. Alarmingly, this implies that an under-educated class will lead South Africa for some time to come.

The scariest aspect of so tragic a situation is that nothing is likely to change for the better in the foreseeable future.

With teachers having the strongest of unions, a populist alliance running the show, teacher-training colleges closed and no shortage of money being thrown forlornly at the problem, we as citizens are going to have to think out of the box for solutions to this vital problem.

It’s such a waste of human capital to have talented Zimbabwean educators working as waiters and security guards while our kids are stuck with lousy local teachers.”