The performance of low fee independent schools in South Africa – What can available data tell?

Author(s): Servaas van der Berg Chris van Wyk Ronelle Burger , Janeli Kotzé, Marlies Piek, Kate Rich

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2017

Publication date: January 2017

Abstract:
This study uses a unique dataset to investigate university access, throughput, and dropout for the 2008 national matric cohort. The findings show that university access in South Africa is limited, even among learners who perform relatively well in matric. In addition, those who do gain access to university often take a long time to complete their studies, with many never completing at all. As a result, only a select minority of matric learners manage to obtain university qualifications. Significant inequalities in university outcomes between race groups and across geographical space also remain evident. However, the results from the analysis suggests that observed patterns of university access and university success are strongly influenced by school results. The weak school system has a major influence on who reaches matric, and how they perform in matric. This, and particularly the achievement of Bachelor passes, explains much of the differences in university outcomes by race, gender and province.

JEL Classification:
I21,I23, I24

Keywords:
higher education, university access, post-school transitions

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