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The skills cline: higher education and the supply-demand complex in South Africa

Cosser, Michael

Abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between Grade 12 learner preferences for study in higher education, student enrolment in higher education programmes, and student graduations in different programme areas, considering the match between these supply-side indicators and a forecast of skills demand in South Africa as a first step towards ascertaining the extent to which the higher education system is meeting the demand for skills in the labour market. Drawing on research into Grade 12 learner aspirations and scarce skills, the paper shows that while learner preferences are predominantly for study in the field of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), student graduations are predominantly in the Humanities, and that the majority of scarce-skills areas are SET-related – creating a mismatch that has implications for the economic development of the country. The development of educators and managers is proffered as a critically important factor in addressing the skills development challenges of South Africa.

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Document Title: The skills cline: higher education and the supply-demand complex in South Africa
Journal: Higher Education
Volume: 59
No. of Pages: 43-53


Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Country:South Africa
Keywords:Higher Education, Aspirations, Enrolment, Graduatation


Date Added:25 August 2011


The skills cline: higher education and the supply-demand complex in South Africa