Not enough support for struggling students, says Pali Lehohla
Statistician-General Pali Lehohla has highlighted the significant disparities in higher education success rates between black and white people in South Africa.
JOHANNESBURG - Statistician-General Pali Lehohla has highlighted the significant disparities in higher education success rates between black and white people in South Africa, saying there simply isn't enough support for struggling students.
Lehohla is making his submission at the Higher Education Fees Commission of Inquiry.
#FeesCommission Lehohla: the proportion of blacks and coloureds who complete degrees has gone down - whites and Indians has gone up. BB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 23, 2017
President Jacob Zuma established the commission last year to investigate the feasibility of fee-free higher education.
Commission chair Judge Jonathan Heher is expected to submit a report to the president towards the middle of this year.
#FeesCommission Lehohla: since 1996, there are fewer people with no education at all, and more people with higher education. BB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 23, 2017
Lehohla says that while the net numbers of black people completing higher education studies has increased, the proportion is declining.
He compared statistics from the 90s to figures from last year.
“For every black person, there were 1.2 white people who were succeeding. For every black person here, in terms of performance, there were six whites to date. This is where the problem is, that blacks do not succeed when they’re at university.”
#FeesCommission Lehohla: the absolute number of blacks completing higher education is up - but proportion down. BB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 23, 2017
#FeesCommission Lehohla: graduate unemployment rate is very low - 9.8% among black graduates, 2.1% among white graduates. BB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) January 23, 2017
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
Lehohla also says that South Africa’s historical inequality and cycle of poverty is a direct contributing factor to poor university performance among black people.
He says the challenge now is to break the cycle of poverty.
“How adults are going to enter adult life when they haven’t managed to secure the necessary resources to enjoy adult life. That means that there’s a transfer cost to their children who, unfortunately, also not working.”
The Statistician-General says the proportion of failing students among black people is increasing.
“The number that manages to succeed is a regressing number all the time, although the absolute numbers are higher. It means, as a proportion for subsequent years, it’s an increasingly dropping number.”
Lehohla has suggested full support for students, which includes accommodation, meals and transport.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter and Masechaba Sefularo)