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Zamani lashes education dept

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He pointed out that there were no peculiarities in the Province that justified not meeting the national average pass rate.

NORTHERN Cape Premier Zamani Saul had harsh words for the Department of Education after the Province’s matric pass rate of 76.4% for 2019 failed to meet the national average of 80%.

“The pass rate is not satisfactory,” Saul stated bluntly at the award ceremony for the Province’s top candidates. “We can do so much better and I firmly believe that 2020 will be much, much better.”

He pointed out that there were no peculiarities in the Province that justified not meeting the national average pass rate.

“Education is not under-funded in this Province. In fact, we spend more on an individual pupil than some other provinces. In the past, the integration of poor regions into the John Taolo Gaetsewe District was used as an excuse, but this district is now the second best performing district in the Province.

Progressed pupils were also given as a reason, but there are progressed pupils throughout the country. All the issues raised are experienced in other parts of the country. The fact that we are achieving below average puts us on a pedestal of people who don’t know what they are doing.”

Saul warned that he was not one to accept generic excuses. “I hope that this is the last year where we are sitting on a stage celebrating a below-average pass rate.”

Not wasting time, Saul summoned the MEC for Education, Mac Jack, together with the senior management of the department, to his office next Friday “from 7am until late” to brief him on the department’s strategy to improve the outcomes of all 139 schools in the Province.

“In that presentation, I don’t want schools categorised. We must know the plan for each and every school. I want this department and its leadership to do a historic performance analysis of all 2020 Grade 12 pupils. I want to know every one of those pupils who are at risk of failing, as well as be provided with a development intervention strategy for each one of these pupils.”

Saul added that if the department worked properly, it should already know what its percentage pass rate would be when schools reopened at the beginning of the year.

“The department should be able to pick up on each matric pupil and identify each one who will not perform well.

“One of the issues we should look at is developing an app to enable the MEC and the premier to communicate directly with each Grade 12 pupil and their educators in all schools.

“By the time I leave the meeting next Friday I must know how many Grade 12 pupils there are, how many are at risk, what are the reasons for this and the action that the department intends to take to mitigate this. This is possible. We can do it and this is what we are getting paid for.”