High pass rate for South Africa's high school exams hides challenges

January 6, 2015 5:30 PM

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High pass rate for South Africa's high school exams hides challenges

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2013, file photo, students from the Melpark Primary School in Johannesburg listen to the history of former president Nelson Mandela as they celebrate the 95th birthday of Mandela during their school assembly. South Africa spent R238 billion, about $20 billion, on education in 2014, according to the treasury department. Yet, increased spending and experimental policies have not been able to overcome the obstacles left by a historically segregated schooling system. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga acknowledged during her televised announcement on Monday evening that preparation had to begin in kindergarten already. The government has introduced national exams to test basic math and language skills in lower grades, but South African scores are among the lowest in the world. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File) (The Associated Press)

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans are celebrating news that 76 percent of high school students have passed final exams, an announcement televised live during prime time Monday evening, but the figure disguises that nearly half of those who began school were forced to drop out before exams.

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