Zuma is expected to make announcements on firms hiring young people and government’s implementation of the National Development Plan.
Equal Education has urged Zuma to address challenges facing education.
“As government approaches the 2014 elections, they will be asked what they have done to improve the quality of education and close the gap between former model C schools and former black schools,” it said in a statement on Thursday morning.
“Former President Thabo Mbeki and President Zuma both promised that mud schools will be eradicated.
“Very little progress has been made, leaving learners to continue their education in inappropriate structures.”
There were 495 mud schools in the country, it said, quoting the National Education Infrastructure Management Systems report, published by the basic education department (DBE) in 2011.
But opposition party leaders have already expressed pessimism about the speech.
The Democratic Alliance’s Lindiwe Mazibuko said Zuma appeared more concerned with “staying at the top of the pile” in the ANC than with running the country.
“As President Zuma delivers his fourth State of the Nation address [on Thursday], many South Africans have little confidence in his ability to deliver on what he promises,” Mazibuko said.
“Unemployment, slow economic growth, lack of foreign investments, and corruption are some of the most serious crises in South Africa at the moment. The government sends confusing messages on all these terrains (sic) which have to be corrected,” Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.
The Nation address takes place from 19:00 at Parliament in Cape Town.