n South African Journal of Higher Education - Breaking the back of economic and financial (il)literacy in South Africa : a critical reflection of the role of economic education

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



South African society is characterized by high levels of poverty and unemployment. South Africa has an embarrassingly uneven distribution of income as reflected by the Gini-coefficient. While much of the country's economic ailments can be attributed to poor and selective application of economic policies during the apartheid era, there is a growing concern that we are failing to deliver on the promise of economic prosperity in the post-apartheid era. In fact, substantive micro-level economic change is just not reaching those hanging on to the lowest rungs of the nation's economic ladder. This plight is compounded by the nation's low levels of economic and financial literacy that often manifest in poor and unfortunate economic decision making. This article explores the potential of a co-ordinated, systemic and sustainable approach to advancing the economic education agenda of the nation. It proposes a critical approach to economic education and argues that higher education in particular has a powerful role to play in stimulating a discourse of critical economic education.

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