Education statistics South Africa

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Only 47% of millennials from ‘rich households’ complete tertiary education

Only 4.2% of millennials in South Africa, from the lowest income households go on to complete a tertiary education and obtain a qualification.

Education statistics South Africa

Image via Adobe Stock

Less than half of millennials in South Africa that come from high-income households go on to complete their tertiary education and obtain a qualification. 

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), only 4.2% of millennials that come from low-income households complete tertiary education. 

This was revealed by statistician-general and head of Stats SA Risenga Maluleke’s report on education and labour market outcomes in South Africa on Tuesday 25 February. 

The report presents data analysis and comparisons of three generations in South Africa; Generation X born between 1960 and 1979, millennials born between 1980 and 1999 and the born-free generation born in 1994 and after. 

The report compares gains made in educational and labour participation and attainment by the three generations from 2002 to 2018. 

More millennial females achieve qualifications through tertiary education

Stats SA says the gender gap in completion of secondary schooling rose from 2.4 % among generation X members, to 3.6 % among millennials. A greater share of millennial females achieved tertiary qualifications.

Generation X more likely to be at school

Millennials ages 23 to 26 were more likely to be attending tertiary education institutions, while the Generation X were more likely to still be at school. Generation X had higher rates of school attendance particularly between ages 23 and 25 years than millennials.

Unemployment evident despite achivements

As we know, the topic of unemployment in South Africa has been a huge issue — the unemployment rate has also remained unchanged since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment. According to the statistics, unemployment for millennials with tertiary qualifications is still evident, despite overall higher educational achievements. 

Domestic workers gain secondary education

There has also been a large increase in domestic workers with some secondary education. Those with a completed secondary schooling almost doubled from 10.8% to 19.3%.

A mere 4.2% in low-income households graduate

A total of 46.6% of millennials in the richest household income quintiles completed a tertiary education, while a mere 4.2% go on to complete a tertiary qualification in the lowest-income households (quintile 1).

In March 2019, more than half (51%) of youth ages 18 to 24 claimed that they did not have the financial means to pay for their tuition.

Furthermore, 18% of those ages 18 to 24 who were not attending educational institutions, indicated that their poor academic performance prevented them from participating.

This is according to the “Higher Education and Skills in South Africa” report released by Statistics South Africa.

The report, which used data from the General Household Survey (GHS) 2017, indicated that only 33.8% of youth ages 18 to 24 were attending educational institutions. Among those, 22.2% were attending school while 11.6% were attending post-school educational institutions.