30 October 2012
South Africans are becoming increasingly better educated, according to the country’s latest census, with the proportion of children at school showing a marked increase, as well as the percentage of people who have completed their secondary schooling.
Statistics South Africa released the results of census 2011, the country’s third population count since democratic elections were first held in 1994, in Pretoria on Tuesday. The previous censuses took place in 2001 and 1996.
There has been a general increase in the percentage of South Africans from the ages of five up to 15 attending school, the census 2011 results show.
Enrolment for the five-year-old age group increased from 22.5% in 1996 to 45.6% in 2001 to 81.2% in 2011.
For the six-year-old age group, these figures were at 49.1% in 1996, 70.3% in 2001 and 92.7% in 2011, while for the seven-year-old group they were at 73.1% in 1996, 88.4% in 2001 and 96.1% in 2011.
“The vast majority of students in South Africa attend public educational institutions. Only 5% of those aged 5 to 24 years, who were attending educational institutions in 2001, attended private institutions as opposed to the 7.3% in 2011,” the census report states.
Increase in private school attendance
There was a general increase in private school attendance across all the provinces, with the highest in Gauteng at 16.7%, followed by the Western Cape at 7.5% and the Free State at 6.4%.
All other provinces had private institution attendance rates of less than 5%.
An increase in black Africans aged between 5 and 24 years attending educational institutions was also recorded. Figures for this population group increased steadily from 70.7% in 1996 to 72.1% in 2001, to 73.9% in 2011.
Attendance rates among coloured, Indian/Asian and white population groups also increased.
The results also showed that the proportion of individuals aged 20 who have no schooling, halved from 19.1% in 1996 to 8.6% in 2011. “There is a significant decrease in persons with no schooling over the 10 years,” the report states.
In addition, the percentage of South Africans aged 20 years and older that have received no formal education has decreased steadily between 1996 and 2011.
In 1996, 17% of males in this age group had no formal education. This decreased to 15.5% in 2001 and further to 7.2% in 2011.
Among females, the percentage with no formal education declined from 20.9% in 1996, to 20% in 2001 and 9.9% in 2011.
A notable improvement was also recorded in the number of people who had completed their education. “The proportion of persons who completed secondary education (matric) or higher increased from 23.4% in 1996 to 40.5% in 2011,” the report states.