The report, a review of school infrastructure spending and delivery, found that of the 26,789 public ordinary schools in 2000, only 24,255 remained in 2012.
In the Free State 47 percent of schools, a total of 1187, had closed, said Conrad Barberton, who with Carmen Abdoll from Cornerstone Economic Research, wrote the report on behalf of the SAHRC.
In other provinces, 31 percent of schools in North West, 12 percent in Mpumalanga and 10 percent in the Eastern Cape had closed.
“If you look at the Free State [education] budget, it now includes a very large allocation for pupil transport,” Barberton said.
As a result, there was a trade off with smaller schools often being merged with larger ones, which affected access to and the quality of education.