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‘Matric pass rate is not a true reflection’

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The provincial matric pass rate does not reflect the fact that many schools still struggle to obtain an acceptable pass rate.

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WHILE the DA in the Northern Cape has congratulated the Class of 2019, the party has pointed out that the provincial matric pass rate does not reflect the fact that many schools still struggle to obtain an acceptable pass rate.

“The reasons for this range from socio-economic challenges and crime to indifferent educators and poor quality of administrative support from the department,” the DA provincial spokesperson for education, Priscilla Isaacs, said yesterday.

“As a starting point, the results do not reflect poor retention of pupils, especially pupils who are forced by socio-economic hardships to leave school early. The impact of culling and gatekeeping, denying pupils regarded at risk of poor academic outcomes the opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong, is also not reflected in these results.”

Isaacs pointed out that a total of 39 schools from the 139 schools whose pupils wrote the National Senior Certificate exams had pass rates below 70%. “This is far too little for pupils to succeed with further studies.

“Of these 39 schools, 12 schools, or nearly a third, achieved pass rates below 70% since at least 2017. These schools require intensive, multi-disciplinary engagements and urgent intervention by the department as well as the portfolio committee on education to bring about stability and to improve the results. This is particularly crucial for the seven schools receiving below 50%.”

Isaacs added that the party agreed with the premier, Dr Zamani Saul, that results were not satisfactory and that challenges prevalent in the Northern Cape were not unique to the Province.

“We are interested to hear his acknowledgement that the Province spends more on education than provinces which outperform us and we look forward to engaging on these remarks further in the budget process.”

SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial chairperson Senzo Mpalala said meanwhile that it appeared that there was an attempt by the department to shift the blame for the below average provincial pass rate.

“There are many challenges in the education sector and some of the areas that need to be addressed include the qualification of teachers, progressed pupils and attrition.

“Many qualified teachers are leaving the Province and the department does not have a clear plan to retain teachers. It needs to review rural incentives.”

Mpalala added that the safety of teachers must also not be overlooked. “The lives of educators are in danger.”