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Business Studies pass rate horror

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A total of 192139 pupils wrote Business Studies in the country, and 59.5 % of the KZN matric pupils passed this subject

File picture: Independent Media

A PRINCIPAL has discovered, after conducting his own investigation into the “shocking drop” in matric results for the subject Business Studies, that this was a national problem and that schools in the Northern Cape were also affected.

Realising it would affect scores of matriculants’ entry into university, he has called for the Department of Basic Education to immediately review the Business Studies results and for the affected pupils to receive their correct results.

The DFA’s sister newspaper, The Daily News, has established that schools in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape were affected.

A total of 192139 pupils wrote Business Studies in the country, and 59.5 % of the KZN matric pupils passed this subject.

In order to qualify for a Bachelor pass, a requirement to enter university, pupils need to have passed all their subjects, but the affected pupils achieved a 20% pass in the subject.

Darryl Franks, principal of Oakridge College in Durban North, wrote to the department on January 5, shortly after he received the “shocking” Business Studies results.

He lodged a formal complaint, expressed his dismay at the drop in results at most schools and called for an immediate review of these marks.

Franks said the pass rate in Business Studies had been above 70% nationally for the past few years, but it dropped to 68% in 2017.

In his letter to the department, Franks said his pupils’ marks were less than the school-based assessment marks, which the department moderated every quarter.

“I cannot accept that all pupils in this subject experienced exactly the same factor magnitude drop in marks. “Something is very rotten with the department and Umalusi. The impact that these marks have on pupils is that pupils who would have achieved a Bachelor pass have not and therefore cannot carry on at tertiary institutions where they were accepted,” he said.

According to the copy of the school results attached to the letter Franks sent to the department, a pupil had scored 91% in the school-based assessment, 73% in the trial exams and 35% in the final exam.

One of the pupils at Oakridge College said she had achieved good results in all her other subjects (above 60%), except for Business Studies where she achieved 27%.

She said her future is bleak and would obviously not be accepted at the University of Cape Town.

“Because of this, I may not go to university after all. My top marks in other subjects do not matter because I failed Business Studies, which has been a huge shock,” she said.

A principal from a school in the Ilembe District agreed this appeared to be a national problem.

“All schools in my area have a decline in Business Studies. I know of a school in Gauteng where in 2017, the school had a 100% pass rate in Business Studies, but the marks in the subject dropped in 2018 to 60%. Something went wrong somewhere. We know that it is not the pupils, but it’s the system,” the principal said.

A teacher at a Pietermaritzburg school admitted his school was also affected, but declined to comment further.

A Durban North school declined to be mentioned as one of the affected schools, but teachers at the school said their pass rate was also affected by the huge decline in Business Studies.

Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department would study Franks’ letter and liaise with the head of National Examinations.