Education remains a challenge

The following article comes from University World News.  It is a sobering look  at education in South Africa with all it’s challenges.

SOUTH AFRICA: Shocking results from university tests

Karen MacGregor

16 August 2009

South African vice-chancellors warned the government last week to expect more students to drop out, as the shocking results of pilot national benchmark tests revealed that only 7% of first-year students are proficient in mathematics, only a quarter are fully quantitatively literate and fewer than half have the academic literacy skills needed to succeed without support.

“The challenge faced by higher education institutions in relation to mathematics is clearly enormous,” according to a draft report produced for the vice-chancellors’ association Higher Education South Africa (HESA) by the National Benchmark Tests Project.

“With the current emphasis on the production of graduates in scarce skills areas such as engineering and science, the need for curriculum responsiveness and remediation in this area is urgent,” said the report, obtained by University World News, which is still to be considered by HESA.

Last week HESA chairman, Professor Theuns Eloff, told parliament’s higher education committee that most first-year students could not adequately read, write or comprehend – and universities that conduct regular competency tests have reported a decline in standards.

Read the rest of the article here.

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