Key Points:

  • South African business spends a great deal of time and money on education projects. While this generous and valuable contribution has resulted in many excellent projects, it has not improved the education system as a whole.
  • The South African education system is large and complex. More than 12 million learners are enrolled at more than 30 000 schools in 70 school districts across nine provinces. There are approximately 385 000 educators in the system.
  • The United States is a very large country, which also has an enormous and complicated educational system. It also falls short of producing the volume of skilled people needed to ensure that the country remains globally competitive. Businesses in the United States have attempted to address the challenges posed by their system.
  • Compared to government expenditure on South African education, the resources commanded by companies and foundations are miniscule. The country needs good ideas to help focus the allocation of private funding, so that it has the best chance of positively influencing the education system.
  • To make an impact on education reform, business must clearly articulate why it is important for students to learn more, know more, and be able to do more in a global economy. It needs to say what needs to change, how it needs to change, and why it needs to change.