SOUTH AFRICA AND THE 2030 FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Sustainable development for quality education has come this far in 21 century most especially in Africa. Since 2000 there has been some substantial progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrolment rate in developing regions reached 91 per cent in 2015, and the worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. There has also been a dramatic increase in literacy rates, and many more girls are in school than ever before. These are all remarkable. Progress has also faced tough challenges in developing regions due to high levels of poverty, armed conflicts and other emergencies. In Western Asia and North Africa, the ongoing armed conflict has seen an increase in the proportion of children out of school. This is a worrying trend.

South Africa 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Goal for Quality Education

South Africa 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Goal for Quality Education

South Africa is one of the leading nations in Africa that she won’t compromise her citizens’ fate in her government. Her first Voluntary National Review is testimony to the national commitment to the full and integrated implementation of the sustainable development 2030 Agenda goal for quality education. South Africa’s National Development Plan  (NDP):  Vision 2030– “Our future, make it work, was adopted in  2012, as South  Africa`s development loadstar and roadmap. It readily predated the  2015  adoption of the United Nations’ 2030  Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 – “The Africa we want”. The NDP has a 74% convergence with the Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs) and prioritises job creation, the elimination of poverty, the reduction of inequality and growing inclusive economy and most importantly quality education to all citizens by  2030.

Moreover, recognizing the interconnectedness of these complementary aspirations and developmental agendas, South Africa had recently established a national coordinating mechanism for national engagements and reporting on the 2030 Agenda, and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), in alignment with the sustainable development peak. This national coordinating mechanism will ensure that national resources are optimally deployed, together with international support, provision of finance, technology and capacity building which are required for successful integrated implementation of these development agendas, most imperatively the quality education agenda as the focus.

The South Africa government knows how substantial education can be, that education is one of the priorities of the NDP, as it highlights that quality education is the key in unlocking people’s potential, and in providing economic opportunities for everyone. Hence, Education in South Africa is governed by two national departments, namely the Department of Basic Education (DBE), which is responsible for primary and secondary schools, and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which is responsible for tertiary education and vocational training. A South African Schools Act, 1996 is aimed at ensuring that all learners have access to quality education without discrimination, and makes schooling compulsory for children aged seven to fifteen. The Act and the South African Council for Educators (SACE) regulate the teaching conduct.

It’s evident that South Africa has the most varying school system in Africa. Many of her headaches have their roots in apartheid. The Bantu Education Act of 1953 set out to ensure that whites received a better education than blacks. Black pupils received about a fifth of the funding compared to their white peers. They were taught almost no maths or science. Most independent church-run schools that provided a good education in black areas were shut down.

South Africa Education Policy Towards Realisation of Schooling 2030

Thus, the South African Government has embarked and were embarking on some education policy in the past which still runs such as a twenty-year review (1994-2014) reviewed government performance over 20 years, thereby monitoring progress in implementation, including in education (Department of Planning, Monitoring and  Evaluation, 2014). Moreover, an Action Plan to 2019, a vision towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030, is a Department of Basic Education (DBE) policy document that breaks down what the department wants to achieve in relation to learning and enrolments across its range of activities and how it intends to achieve this. It aligns with many of the SDG targets for basic education. The rate of early childhood learning level is high, with almost 95% of the country’s children participating in organised learning in the year before the official primary school entry age. Among those aged 16 to 18, approximately 95% have completed Grade 7; just under 90% of those aged 19 to 21 have completed Grade 9, and just under 51% have completed Grade 12. While the participation rates in the lower grades are creditable, those in the top grades are too low. South Africa is concerned about the drop-out rate from the educational system; this is especially marked when the progression rate from Grade 1 to Grade 12 is calculated, and not simply the drop-out rate within the upper levels of the secondary school system.

In South Africa, the Department of Basic Education’s priority is to improve literacy by supporting the use of African languages as a media of learning and teaching. The approach being followed is to provide sufficient reading materials, particularly in African languages, and, in this way improve learner performance to appropriate levels.  There is also a focus to strengthen English as a subject and as a medium of instruction in the intermediate phase and beyond. The DBE has been implementing Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS) at the provincial level since 2015, in collaboration with academic researchers. Currently underway in Mpumalanga is a second EGRS focusing on the acquisition of English as a First Additional Language (EFAL) in the Foundation Phase. Other initiatives to improve literacy and numeracy include the partnership between the DBE and the National Education Collaboration Trust which rolled out the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme for 11 000 Foundation Phase teachers across all provinces and many others.

In the same vein, the dropout still rate remains high even though the trend data shows that the dropout rate has been declining over the years. Furthermore, many of the programmes and curricula offered at our universities and TVET colleges are not adequately responsive to the needs of the economy.

South Africa Priorities Towards Quality Education in 2030

Going to 2030, key priority interventions are as follows: Offering a diverse set of training opportunities, especially in STEM subjects providing skills for sustainable livelihoods, providing entrepreneurial skills for people to start their businesses and create employment for themselves, monitoring and reporting on the performance of the PSET system annually by providing reliable data for planning and monitoring through quality management information systems, Increase access to quality early childhood development by improving the policy and regulatory environment and building South Africa’s capacity to deliver ECD, Committing to the progressive realisation of free access to quality higher education and skills development programmes; and address the socioeconomic factors that limit access, progress, and the successful completion of higher education and training in South Africa. By the year 2020, South Africa will be a country to hold on to in the nearest future as there would have fulfilled the aim of the sustainable development goals of quality education.

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