The following was taken from

Education was viewed as a part of the overall apartheid system, which included the "homelands", urban restrictions, pass laws and job reservation. The role of black Africans was as labourers or servants only. As HF Verwoerd, the architect of the Bantu Education Act of 1953, conceived it: "There is no place for [the African] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. It is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim, absorption in the European community."

Although today's government is working to rectify the imbalances in education, the apartheid legacy remains. The greatest challenges lie in the poorer, rural provinces like the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Schools are generally better resourced in the more affluent provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Illiteracy rates currently stand at around 18% of adults over 15 years old (about 9-million adults are not functionally literate), teachers in township schools are poorly trained, and the matric pass rate remains low.

While 65% of whites over 20 years old and 40% of Indians have a high school or higher qualification, this figure is only 14% among blacks and 17% among the coloured population.

The government is in particular targeting education for the poorest of the poor, with two notable programmes. One is fee-free schools, institutions that receive all their required funding from the state and so do not have to charge school fees. These have been carefully identified in the country's most poverty-stricken areas, and will make up 40% of all schools in 2007.

The other is the National Schools Nutrition Programme, which feeds about 7-million schoolchildren every day, including all those attending primary schools in 13 rural and eight urban poverty nodes. The programme was extended in 2009 to 1�500 secondary schools around the country, feeding 1-million secondary school pupils from grades 8 to 12.


Although the government is trying to rectify the inequality in education, there is still a huge discrepancy in the quality of education in state-run schools and what is now known as Model C schools.