Inheriting an apartheid-era educational system, as well as lack of support in the home has contributed to the high dropout rate of black and coloured youth in higher education. This is according to Statistician General, Pali Lehohla,Â who also pointed out, â€œIt is probably the consequence of successful policies of opening doors of learning without adequate support to take us throughâ€. Lehohla was addressing the Fees Commission on Monday.
â€œThe kind of assistance available to these students is not adequate,â€ said Lehohla. And although stats pointed to an increased net number of black students entering university, the proportion of those succeeding is in fact regressing.
He pointed out that black students performed better between the 1960s and 1980s, despite fewer having entered into universities, while there are currently fewer than 50, 000 black students successfully completing university each year. â€œIf they are 30, 000 or 40, 000 white [students] coming into university, you would expect 200, 000 Africans to enter university every year.
Black students do not succeed at university for a variety of reasons, and often find themselves ill-prepared for the challenges that await them. The lack of support at home is often due to circumstances perpetuated by poverty and inequality, where in a country of 9.4 million youths, 3.1 million of those were poor. Itâ€
There is also the unique situation of uneducated parents who may find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of their childrenâ€
Many students are also forced to migrate in attempts to achieve higher education and training, and this leads to further issues. Matters such as the availability of accommodation are a cause of angst, with the Fallist movement pulling the curtain down on the housing crisis that exists on campus.
There are instances where students may have to work just to be able to support themselves while studying, because their families canâ€
During his address, Lehohla mentioned that free higher education was possible for those in need, it was just a matter of who would fund it. But with black and coloured South Africans systemically failing to secure the necessary resources to enjoy their adult lives, the direct impact is felt mostly by their children. And any prospects South Africa may harbour regarding the lived reality of having a country with five million graduates, rests on more being done to curb the current pandemic.
Gosiame Legoale is an attempted scribbler.