Education levels among South African adults have significantly increased in the past ten years, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.
“Between 1997 and 2007 the number of adults who had completed Grade Eight increased from 14,093,000 to 19,026,000,” it said in a statement.
The proportion of adults who had completed Grade Eight increased from 61.4 percent in 1997 to 69 percent in 2007, according to the SAIRR’s South African survey published this week.
The number of people who completed Grade 12 also increased.
“In 1997, some 5,398,000 people had completed matric. In 2007, this number had increased by just over three million to 9,020,000,” said SAIRR.
In 1997, the proportion of people with matric was 25.9 percent. In 2007, this was 32.7 percent.
SAIRR said a similar trend emerged when looking at the number of the people who had completed higher education.
In 1997, only 600,000 South Africans had completed some form of higher education. By 2007, this number had almost doubled to 1,050,000.
The number of people who had no schooling declined over the same period.
In 1997, there were 3,196,000 South Africans with no schooling, but 2,542,000 in 2007.
Researcher Marius Roodt said the increase in the number of people with an education was an achievement of which the government could be proud.
“However, there is still a large proportion of the population who do not have any schooling,” he said.
The challenge was to ensure that people who got an education, receive one that was of value, to allow them to find gainful employment and to contribute to the South African society.