When it comes to a country’s success, education
is often cited as the silver bullet. Countries with excellent education systems enjoy a working democracy
and lower crime rates, have more responsible citizens and attract better business and industry. In this sense, South Africa is up against a big challenge.
Despite having one of the most democratically advanced constitutions in Africa, the quality of the country’s education system leaves much to be desired.
Last year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness report illustrates this perfectly.
It ranked our maths and science education almost dead last (138th) out of 140 countries. This is devastating.
It means we are among the worst in the world, despite having vastly superior resources compared to poorer countries on the list.
We can blame much of this on the glaring inequalities still apparent in the education system 22 years into our democracy.
This is why the 2016 State of the Nation Address reiterated the position of ‘quality school education’ at the apex of the National Development Plan (NDP).
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ARE CRUCIAL TO ADDRESSING SA’S EDUCATION CHALLENGES HAND-IN-HAND
It would be easy to play the national education blame game and say that government should find ways to solve the problem.
But the truth is that, because quality education is the country’s most powerful instrument for reducing poverty and improving the economy,
it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to put the economy back on a growth path by focusing on improving our education outcomes.
The US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSI) defines public-private partnership as “solving development problems through a co-ordinated
and concerted effort between government and non-government actors, including companies and civil society.”
By creating synergies that leverage the talents, expertise and powers of all stakeholders involved,
partnerships create a catalytic force capable of resolving infrastructure gaps HAND-IN-HAND.
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