Main Barriers to Education
- Poor quality of education
- Physical inaccessibility of schools
First colonized by the Dutch and assigned as a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, South Africa is home to a diverse and multi-cultural population of over 50 million people. Diversity was not always celebrated in South Africa, and as recently as 1994, elections took place that would release this country from apartheid and the constrictive governmental policies associated with this era. Ever since, according to the CIA World Fact Book, South Africa has struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. South Africa spends 6% of its GDP on education (2010).
Unfortunately, like many countries, South Africa was hit hard by the downturn of the world economy and entered a recession in 2009, which was exacerbated in this country, by a slowdown in the mining and manufacturing sectors. The construction sector benefited, however, in the form of government investment due to the 2010 football world cup.
Pro-poor oriented public spending in South Africa has provided income relief for the poor where governmental spending in pensions, child support, school feeding grants and the like have been well placed; in fact 3.5% of the GDP is spent on such areas of social development.
No less than 11 languages are used officially in South Africa. South Africans are entitled to free, basic education through to further education and according to the Bill of Rights of the country's Constitution, the state has an obligation, through reasonable measures, to progressively make this education available and accessible.