Meeting Equity Targets: Are There Enough Graduates

by ALTMAN, M & LEE, D., 2004
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

Several sectors have expressed concern that the higher education sector may not be offering a sufficient supply of black graduates to enable them to reach equity targets. Altman and Lee offer baseline data to identify the possible pool of learners and graduates from previously disadvantaged groups from which industry might source its employees. Their brief provides a cross-section of information on enrolments and graduates, highlighting problems such as weak information, poor access to financial resources, and weak maths and science education in historically disadvantaged, predominantly black schools. The reforms required in the education sector and labour market will take some time to correct these weaknesses; however, there is strong evidence that bridging courses and internships can bring rapid improvement. The study points to sufficient enrolment numbers in further and higher education. The inability of a matric graduate to access an historically advantaged university is not necessarily a reflection of personal capability, particularly given the country’s legacy of exclusion. Thus, while government is attempting to address systemic exclusion, business can play an active role by forming links with high schools to promote maths and science education, and by offering bursaries for scarce skills, internships and bridging courses. Such measures would assist the financial sector in meeting its equity targets.