Business Education Learners in the Further Education and Training Phase: Towards the Development of a South African Readiness Model to Strengthen Learners’ Academic Performance

  • Venicia McGhie Academic Development Practitioner at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape
  • Antoinette Venter Deputy Chief Education Specialist of Economic and Management Sciences at the Western Cape Education Department
  • Karen Dos Reis Teaching and Learning Specialist at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape


African and coloured students continue to perform poorly both at public schools and institutions of higher learning. There are two main reasons for their weak performance – a lack of literacy and numeracy skills, and being under-prepared. This article reports on two findings of a study that was
conducted at two high schools in the Western Cape Province. The one high school was a quintile 1, and the other a quintile 4 school. The study aimed to implement intervention strategies over a three year period for Grade 10 to 12 learners in the business-related subjects, Accounting, Business Studies,
and Economics. The objective was to develop a readiness model that public schools in South African could use to overcome the challenges so that learners could be equipped with a strong foundation in their primary schooling. The study was situated within a critical education science paradigm and used
a critical participatory action research design. Two groups of 30 learners formed the main research participants. Interventions strategies were implemented with the learners when they were in Grade 10 in 2017, in Grade 11 in 2018, and in Grade 12 in 2019. The results show that both groups of
learners did not have an adequate rating of 50% and more subject content knowledge and skills when they arrived in Grade 10 in 2017 in all three subjects, and they did not manage to obtain a 50% or more rating in the three subjects in their final examinations at the end of Grade 12 in 2019. Based on the four key principles of the readiness model, recommendations are proposed that would assist public schools to develop and support the learners during the early childhood and foundation phase so that a
solid foundation in literacy and numeracy skills could be laid.