Day 384: The Pass Rate for Public Universities in RSA is 15%

Johannesburg - The graduation rate among undergraduate students in South Africa’s 23 public universities is 15 percent.
The rate for Master’s students is 20 percent and for doctoral students 12 percent.
These figures are contained in the Department of Higher Education and Training’s first annual statistical report, published this year, which looked at the “size and shape of post-school education and training in South Africa”.
Nicolene Murdoch, the executive director for teaching and quality at Monash South Africa, said the graduation rates have ranged from 15 percent to 20 percent for several years now.
She said the reasons for these low rates include financial constraints – where students enroll for courses but don’t have funding to see them through – lack of academic preparedness and students not getting enough support from their universities.
Murdoch, who is also the president of the South African Association for Institutional Research (SAAIR), said the highest failure rates were in the maths and science programmes which covered medicine, science, technology and business studies. She said students tended to struggle with “anything with a maths component”.
Students who hopped from one course to another also contributed to low graduation rates because they moved to new courses without finishing the ones they had started.
She said students who weren’t well informed on the different career opportunities and those who didn’t fully appreciate what studying towards their chosen field entailed, also lead to low output rates as they struggle with learning areas they’re not suited or skilled for. 
Murdoch said things such as student accommodation and adjusting to university life were some of the non-academic factors that had a huge impact on students’ academic achievements.
A review report on student accommodation at the county’s 23 universities published in February 2012 found that only 5.3 percent of first year students, those arguably in the greatest need of accommodation, were in university residences. Of the total number of contact students across all the universities, only 20 percent were accommodated at university residences.
The report also found that hunger was a major problem among students, with some going for days without having had a meal. - iOL

In the South African national budget, about 20% of the total budget is allocated to education. The government has been trying to emphasise how well matric students are doing in their final years of high school, lauding themselves for getting the pass rate up to 75.6% - but what they don't tell you is that the pass mark (lowest possible mark a student must receive in order to "pass")  is as low as 30%. See here.

So we know that throwing money at education is not enough to actually create an educational system that is beneficial to students. Teachers have no idea how to teach, so kids end up wasting away their youths sitting in rooms.

Some blame the curriculum. Some blame the government. Some blame the teachers. Some blame apartheid. The reality is that in any school, whether it is successful or not, there are a few "bright" students who do very well, and the majority of the students are either average or below average. Looking at the education system in this light shows us that the problem is not just one thing, and not limited to those underprivileged schools and students.

The status of our schools should tell us that the way we are teaching children is simply not effective if only a few excel. It is highly unlikely that there is only one area that could be named the culprit, but there surely is only one party responsible: humanity. We are each responsible for the world we create and the society we create - we are the ones who created and now maintain an inferior education system. We are the ones who made the choice to accept the system without question. We are the ones who send our children to school knowing that its purpose and effectiveness has long since faded from memory. The educational system is now merely a shadow of what is should be, but we refuse to acknowledge that it is a part of the larger problem of our society.

We attribute importance and value to uniformity, so we design our schools so that the children will become all alike, copies of their parents and copies of each other. Schools have just become production lines, churning out more of the same: undisciplined, uncaring, inconsiderate, illiterate and irresponsible people who have no issue with the way the world is.

Schools should teach us how the world works, how everything that forms a part of our lives functions. We should be shown how to grow food. We should be shown how to be the directors of our own minds and bodies. We should be shown how to build and fix household items. We should be shown how the economic system works. We should be shown where our food comes from that we buy in stores. We should be shown to use our critical reasoning. We should be shown how to ask questions and think for ourselves, really. We should be shown how to stop ourselves from becoming possessed and obsessed with thoughts and ideas. These are some of the practical things that affect all of us which should be understood by all of us. Instead we are taught things that, most of which, will be forgotten within one month of writing exams.

We choose our education. We choose to remain ignorant. We can also choose a new way that will prepare our children to make a better life for everyone.