The worst education system in the world – Good luck Kiddo


  • Of the 1.2-million children who begin school every year only 37% reach matric
  • More than a quarter of Grade 6 learners can’t read, another 34% don’t understand what they read
  • Less than 4% of children who start school will earn a qualification

In a league table of education systems drawn up in 2015 by the OECD club of mainly rich countries, South Africa ranks 75th out of 76. In November the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), a quadrennial test sat by 580,000 pupils in 57 countries, had South Africa at or near the bottom of its various rankings, though its scores had improved since 2011. Its children are behind those in poorer parts of the continent. A shocking 27% of pupils who have attended school for six years cannot read, compared with 4% in Tanzania and 19% in Zimbabwe. After five years of school about half cannot work out that 24 divided by three is eight. Only 37% of children starting school go on to pass the matriculation exam; just 4% earn a degree.

Overcrowded Classrooms

South Africa has the most unequal school system in the world, says Nic Spaull of the University of Stellenbosch. The gap in test scores between the top 20% of schools and the rest is wider than in almost every other country.

Given the government spend on education as a ratio of national expenditure, South Africa has the world’s worst education system.

Overcrowded Like A Bee-hive And Packed Like Sardins...In School Of All Places

In an article printed by The Economist they make a very bold remark regarding the education of South Africa, calling it “Bottom of the Class.” The article is filled with many research numbers out lining the discrepancies found within education in the country. Some are the following numbers found:

  • Only 37% of children starting school go on to pass the matriculation exam
    • out of those 37% only 4% earn a degree
  • 27% of pupil who attended school for six years cannot read
  • Out of 57 countries tested in the International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) it came near the bottom of its various rankings
    • This is show in a chat presented below where South Africa had over 60% of students with test scores below 400 in a 500 average graph
  • The discrepancies in test scores among the top 20% school and the rest is larger than in almost every single other country
    • For every 200 black students only one does an engineering degree
    • for every 200 white students 10 get an engineering degree

EverythingIsJustWrongInManySchoolsInSouthAfrica

“In November the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)‚ a quadrennial test sat by 580‚000 pupils in 57 countries‚ had South Africa at or near the bottom of its various rankings‚ though its scores had improved since 2011. Its children are behind those in poorer parts of the continent.

“After five years of school about half cannot work out that 24 divided by three is eight. Only 37% of children starting school go on to pass the matriculation exam; just 4% earn a degree.”

The Economist says few countries spend so much on education to so little effect. And it points the finger of blame at the South African Democratic Teachers Union‚ quoting from a report published in May which found widespread corruption in teacher appointments.

“The government has done little in response. Perhaps this is unsurprising; all six of the senior civil servants running education are Sadtu members‚” it says.

WorseAndWorstConditionsAreAllThatIsAvailableInSomePlaces