Science and maths-related subjects saw the least number of students doing courses in the fields across South Africa’s 26 universities in 2016, pointing towards the wide gap between demand for scarce skilled professionals and their availability.

According to volume three of Stats SA’s Educational enrolment and achievement 2016 report, students enrolled in business and economics studies accounted for the majority (21.5%) of those enrolled and attending, while physical sciences students accounted for 1.7% and Life science for 1.5% and maths and statistics students for 1.1%.

According to the Department of Higher Education and Training, science, technology, engineering and maths are the top scarce skills fields in the country, meaning there are not enough graduates and professionals available to meet demand and development goals.

It’s also not very surprising to note that science, tech and maths are not very populated when one considers the national matric pass rate for these subjects.

In 2015, the maths pass rate dipped below the 50% mark, after only 49.1% of pupils across the country who wrote the subject passed.

The class of 2016 saw a slight rise with 51.1% of matrics who wrote maths passing it. The Physical Science pass rate went up from 58.6% and broke the 60% mark, sitting at 62.0% in 2016.