Premier says that teachers with comorbidities and pupil absenteeism “greatly impacted” outcome of matric exams.
ACCORDING to Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul, the number of teachers with commobilities and absenteeism among Grade 12 pupils had “greatly impacted” on the outcome of the 2020 matric exams in the Province.
The Northern Cape achieved a matric pass rate of 66%, making it the worst performing province in the country.
Saul, who was speaking at the release of the provincial matric results and the award ceremony for the Province’s top Grade 12 pupils in Kimberley on Tuesday, said that nearly 3,000 teachers had applied to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our Province was greatly affected by the availability of educators due to age and comorbidities. Out of a total of 2,758 educators who applied to work from home, 353 educators were granted approval and these were mainly Grade 12 educators offering various subjects. We are not underestimating the impact it had on our learners and the instability it created in schools,” said Saul.
“The Northern Cape had the highest number of teachers with commobilities. We have to investigate why a quarter of our educators could not be fully integrated into the education system. We need to investigate soon, especially since the country might be hit by another wave of Covid-19. We cannot have a repeated cycle.”
Saul said that many Grade 12 pupils in the Province had also opted not to return to school when the hard lockdown was lifted and schools reopened.
“Another concerning matter is the number of learners who did not return to school following the national lockdown. An estimated 23% of learners did not return to school after the hard lockdown, which translates to 2,766 candidates. We have noted that those 2,766 candidates did, however, show up to write their final examinations. That is despite them having missed out on months of schooling and teaching. They showed up just for luck or in hope that they might pass.
“I mention these because although Covid-19 was not unique to our Province, it left us with a trail of unique challenges that we had to confront.”
Saul called on parents to play an active role in the education of their children.
“We are still in a pandemic and the Class of 2021 has already missed out on crucial learning. The education of our children is a societal matter. Parents must ensure that their children are at school. Parents cannot allow their children to miss out on school.
“We have invited parents to participate in the school governing body (SGB) elections that will take place from March 1, 2021. Being part of the SGB will ensure that parents can be part of the successful running of the schools in their respective areas,” Saul said.