About | State of Education

South Africa has the most unequal education system in the world

A recent report by Amnesty International says...

'The South African education system, characterised by crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded classrooms and relatively poor educational outcomes, is perpetuating inequality and as a result failing too many of its children, with the poor hardest hit'

(Broken and Unequal: The State of Education in South Africa. FEB 2020)

Children in the top 200 schools (3%) achieve more distinctions in subjects like mathematics than children in the next 6,600 schools (97%) combined. 

A study by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust identified that of the young people who enter the education system, 40% will not complete their education and sit Matriculation (GCSE equivalent). 

With thousands of young people leaving school without qualifications and the skills to succeed, it is not surprising that youth unemployment rate makes up 66% of then nation's total unemployment figure. According to the World Population Review (2022) South Africa's unemployment rate is now the highest in the world.


Children are left vulnerable in these circumstances and experience high rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, peer relationship difficulties, suicidal urges, delinquency and homelessness. An appalling 29% of sexual offences reported to the police involve minors under 18, 34% of children experience physical abuse, 17% witness violence and the child homicide rate is 5.5 per 100,000 – twice the global average. 11% of people are HIV+ and 25% of new daily infections are cases of young women.  

It is an extraordinarily difficult place to be a child, in these circumstances children are denied the possibility of reaching their full potential in life and the right to dignity for themselves and their families but we believe that change is possible.