The South African education system needs urgent action. Building national capabilities requires quality early childhood development, basic education, further and higher education. Early childhood development should be broadly defined, taking into account all the development needs of a child, and provided to all children.
The priorities in basic education are human capability, school management, district support, infrastructure and results-oriented mutual accountability between schools and communities. Further Education and Training colleges, public adult learning centres, sector education and training authorities, professional colleges and Community Education and Training Centres are important elements of the post-school system that provide diverse learning opportunities.
Further education should expand moderately, and as quality improves/expands rapidly, higher education should incorporate a range of different institutions that work together to serve different priorities, including effective regulatory and advisory institutions.
Distance education, aided by advanced information communication technology, will play a greater role in expanding learning opportunities for different groups of learners and promote lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Private providers will continue to be important partners in the delivery of education and training at all levels.
Research and innovation by universities, science councils, departments, NGOs and private sector has a key role to play in improving South Africa’s global competitiveness. Coordination between the different role-players is important.