This week Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released a thematic report titled Education Series Volume V: Higher Education and Skills in South Africa. This report revealed that about 51 percent of South Africa’s youth between the ages of 18 and 24 do not have the financial means to pay for their tertiary tuition.

“The Higher Education and Skills in South Africa report released by Statistics South Africa today further shows that access to funding for tuition was a major concern for some of the youth who could not pursue higher education. Other barriers to higher education qualification attainments were poor performance resulting in high levels of drop out from tertiary institutions,” said the firm.

The report was derived from the data from General Household Survey (GHS) during 2017, which indicated that only 33.8 percent of youth aged between 18 and 24 were attending educational institutions, while 18 percent were not attending educational institutions attributing it to poor academic performance.

Stats SA revealed that the general trend in participation in all institutions of higher education was on the up, with the total enrolment in tertiary institutions in 2016 amounting to 49.9 percent of all enrolments within this sector.

The report noted that gender disparity was still a challenge, as was participation equity for students from low-income backgrounds, indicating that female participation at public universities was at 58 percent and 57 percent at Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) colleges.

“Between 2010 and 2017, a total of R70,8 billion in National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding was granted to more than 3 million students. In 2017, 85,7 percent of the money allocated to NSFAS was granted to university students while the rest (14,3 percent) was granted to students at TVET colleges,” concluded Stats SA.

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