The Eastern Cape has the second highest percentage of learners in the country that did not pay school fees (81%) in 2013 whereas Limpopo has the highest with 91,0%. This is significantly higher than the national average (62,4%).In 2013, 87,2% learners attended schools with nutrition programme and 85,1% of them made use of the service. There is a significant decrease in learners identifying high school fees as a problem since the introduction of “no fees” school policy. This is according to the Education series II: Focus on schooling in Eastern Cape report released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Friday 26 February.
The report shows that the percentage of individuals (5 years and older) who attend school and receive social grants increased from 3,1% in 2003 to 61,3% in 2013. Eastern Cape has the highest percentage of individuals who received social grants (40,3%).
The report shows that the main reason provided for not attending an educational institution by both genders was “no money for education fees” with 20,2% for males and 25,7% for females. About 19,1% of males reported that they are not attending a school because they either not interested or thought it was useless. Those who did not attend school because of a disability were 10,3% and 2,5% for males and females respectively. Close to 8% of females indicated that they did not attend schools due to pregnancy.
Male primary school completion rates for the province increased from 35,8% in 2002 to 68,2% in 2013, yet it is the lowest completion rate as compared to females in the Eastern Cape as well as national levels. The secondary school completion rate for the country was higher by over 20% than that of the Eastern Cape (20,6%). However, there has been an improvement in secondary school completion rates between 2002 and 2013 and more especially the female secondary completion rate, which increased from 21,4% in 2002 to 32,2% in 2013. Nationally, it increased from 37,0% in 2002 to 50,7% in 2013.
The Eastern Cape has a slow age per grade transition. According to the Eastern Cape Learner Educator Census (ECLECS-2013) data, around 20% of learners enrolled in Grade 1 across all the educational districts are older than the expected age. Moreover, girls are more likely than boys to be of an appropriate age per grade. When comparing learners who have fallen two or more years behind the expected age for grade, they seem more likely to come from female headed households; belonging to households more dependent on social grants as a main source of income; and more likely to be from extended and triple generation households.
The report includes a learning environment deprivation analysis which provides indicators such as deprivation index, deprivation headcount and its intensity per education districts. The deprivation index was constructed by use of variables such as access to facilities and basic services critical for effective teaching and learning, learner–classroom ratios as a measure of overcrowding and learner-teacher ratio.
Of the approximately 601 000 learners in the foundation phase, about two in ten learners were considered deprived with an overall deprivation intensity of 39, 1% in the Eastern Cape. Lusikisiki has the largest number of deprived pupils in the foundation phase with close to a quarter of the total number of learners most likely to be deprived (12 284 deprived learners) at an intensity deprivation of 43,5% and a deprivation index of 0,118. Similarly in Mthatha, out of a total of 41 588 foundation phase pupils, an estimated 10 025 learners were considered as deprived with an intensity of 41,8%.
In the intermediate phase, a total of above 117 000 pupils were most likely deprived. This amounts to about 31% of pupils across the educational districts, with a deprivation ratio of 0,309 and a mean deprivation intensity of 0,423. The highest number of deprived learners in this phase are estimated for Libode with 39,9% of the pupils (13 855) estimated to be most likely deprived, with a deprivation intensity of 46,4% and a deprivation index of 0,185. In the senior phase, 127 122 (45,9%), learners were most likely deprived and in the FET phase, 103 467 (35,8%), learners were most likely deprived.