This week the Higher Education and Training Minister, Naledi Pandor revealed that most university students were completing their undergraduate degrees after seven years despite the government spending R20 billion annually on study funds.
According to IOL News, the Minister released a report detailing trends and statistics for higher education system. She then raised her concerns whether the matrics emerging from the school system are prepared for university?
“The big question I ask myself when I look at these statistics is it correct for us to continue to believe that young people are ready to pursue undergraduate studies immediately upon completion of Grade 12 or should we be looking at different kind of approach,” said Pandor.
According to the publication, about 70 percent of students obtained their first degree after seven years of studying, adding that the situation was even worse in distance education, which is dominated by Unisa, as only 18 percent obtained their degree after seven-year. Furthermore, around 20 percent of students are dropping out without attaining their undergraduate degrees.
“South Africa has refused to answer this question for several years. But the low throughput rates, eight years to complete an undergraduate degree suggests there’s something around the preparedness that we need to pay attention to,” explained Pandor.
The Minister also noted that males were earning roughly R2 052 more that their female colleagues in institutional workplaces, which prompted her to call for gender equality, and encouraged women to fight for their rights in the workplace.
She added that young black graduates are not able to secure better-paying jobs with their degrees, and emphasised that there was a dire need for permanent positions in public institutions, as it was the only way to create job opportunities for young graduates.
What measures government plans to put in place in order to address this concerning issue is unclear.