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Education in South Africa - statistics & facts

One of the major obstacles South Africa faces in its education system is the high number of children not in school. 845.5 thousand children were not enrolled in 2018. This number was expected to increase even further due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The gender parity index in youth literacy indicates that a higher share of females is able to read and write in the country.
The total number of teachers in the nation was around 444.9 thousand, with most of them teaching classes in KwaZulu-Natal. Public schooling had the majority of school educators, reaching 91.5 percent. KwaZulu-Natal has the largest number of schools.

Education structure and pre-tertiary education enrollment

The South African education system is broadly divided into pre-secondary, secondary, and tertiary education. Further, the pre-secondary consists of the general education and training Band (GET) while the secondary education covers the further education and training Band (FET). Successful completion provides access to tertiary education. Mandatory education covers the three segments of GET, namely the foundation, intermediate, and senior phases, amounting to nine years, which excludes grade R at the start of the foundation phase.
With pre-primary schooling not being compulsory, the gross pre-primary school enrollment rate was at 17.6 percent in 2018, dropping from some 24.6 percent the year before. The enrollment in primary education was higher, with a gross enrollment rate of 98.5 percent in 2018, dropping slightly from 100.9 percent in 2017. Moreover, although FET is not part of compulsory education but part of secondary schooling, gross enrollment in secondary schools remained high at 100.5 percent.

Tertiary education and international student mobility

In 2018, the gross tertiary education enrollment ratio was 23.8 percent. Generation X individuals holding a higher education certificate in South Africa made up 16.4 percent. There are more international students studying in South Africa than South African students studying abroad. The net flow of internationally mobile students was 33.1 thousand in 2018.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 34 most important statistics relating to "Education in South Africa".


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