Most Pupils Do Not Pay School Fees
Almost two-thirds of pupils do not pay school fees in South Africa, Statistics SA (StatsSA) said on Thursday.
"Of these, 96.5 percent attended no-fee schools," according to the StatsSA General Household Survey 2011 released in Pretoria on Thursday.
The number of pupils benefiting from no-fee schools had increased sharply over the past five years, since the government introduced new policies in 2006, said Niel Roux, chief survey statistician.
Forty percent of schools in South Africa were declared no-fee schools from 2007. These ranked among the poorest fifth of schools in the country.
The percentage of pupils at no-fee schools had increased from 0.7 percent in 2002 to 56 percent in 2011, StatsSA said.
There was a wide discrepancy between provinces.
Ninety percent of pupils in Limpopo and 72 percent in the Eastern Cape attended no-fee schools.
However, in Gauteng only 32 percent did so, while in the Western Cape it was 28 percent.
The proportion of people aged seven to 24 attending educational institutions was relatively stable between 2002 and 2011 at around 74 percent.
The main reason given by those youths still not attending school was a lack of money, the survey found.
Only two percent of respondents indicated they had left school due to pregnancy. However, this measured both male and female respondents.
"When you look at girls aged 13 to 18, the figure can be as high as 10 percent or more," Roux said.
The proportion of pupils benefiting from school nutrition programmes had grown significantly from 2009 to 2011.
In 2011, almost three-quarters of pupils at public schools with food aid made use of the programme.
This had grown from 66 percent in 2010.
Pupils in Limpopo, the Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape were the most likely to benefit from food programmes. Those in Gauteng and Western Cape were the least likely to benefit.
Roux said the percentage of people completing matric had "improved significantly and consistently" since 2002 when it was 22 percent. In 2011, it was 27 percent.
"Over the same period, the percentage of individuals with a tertiary education increased from 9.2 percent to 11.5 percent," according to the report.
The percentage of people without any schooling dropped from 11 percent to seven percent over this time.
Roux said it was encouraging to note that 92 percent of adults in South Africa could be classified as literate.
The highest proportion of literate adults were found in the Western Cape and Gauteng -- both at 97 percent.
The lowest was the Northern Cape at 84 percent.
StatsSA surveyed around 30,000 households between July and September 2011.
The survey covers areas relating to social concerns, including education, health and social services.