Matric results reflect failing education system‚ opposition parties say
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the South African National Civic Organisation introduced their statements with congratulations to successful National Senior Certificate (NSC) learners.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) ended its with a nod to their efforts and those of “hard-working teachers and principals”.
The Congress of the People (Cope) omitted any felicitation and launched into an attack blaming the South African Democratic Teachers Union’s (Sadtu) cosiness with government for the overall NCS pass rate declining from 75.8% in 2014 to 70.7% in 2015 announced on Tuesday.
“The EFF‚ however‚ expresses deep regret at the falling pass rate which the Minister of Basic Education‚ Angie Motshekga‚ confirmed in spite of the fact that the class of 2015 was the largest in South African history of basic education‚” said spokesperson Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi.
“The minister reported that the overall pass rate has decreased by 5%‚ and despite the 9% of the progressed learners‚ it was still going to degrees by more than 1%.
“The EFF will never celebrate that the total number of leaners who sat for exams‚ 65,671 were progressed learners. This is not an achievement at all‚ because an efficient system that takes care of leaners should in any way not only take care of those who are progressed‚ but also the more than 500,000 that got lost from the system.”
The half-a-million learners referred to‚ Ndlozi explained‚ was the difference between the 1303016 learners who registered for grade 1 in 2004 and the 801,688 who “sat for matric exams”.
Sanco‚ on the other hand‚ praised the progressed learner system‚ with spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu saying: “The policy shift emphasising quality and efficiency in order to reduce learner drop out in the education system has significantly benefitted learners who ordinarily wouldn't have made it.”
He said “that the drop in the overall pass rate from 75.9% that delivered a pass for 22,000 progressed learners and 72.9% of repeaters is minimal compared to the opportunity cost that gatekeeping thousands of learners in Grade 10 and 11 did not provide".
Mahlangu also said that "as expected‚ provinces that are better resourced did well as compared to rural provinces that are largely burdened by the apartheid legacy of overcrowding and infrastructure backlog”.
The DA acknowledged that the provincial breakdown showed “a picture emerging of a highly unequal education system”‚ and chose to punt the successes of the province it governs‚ the Western Cape‚ which “achieved a pass rate of 84.7%‚ the highest in the country and an increase of 2.5% from 2014”.
“It is the only province to have improved their pass rate from last year‚” the party said.
“Some provinces have shown a significant decline‚ most notably the Eastern Cape at 56.8% (down 8.6%)‚ KwaZulu-Natal at 60.7% (down 9%)‚ and Limpopo at 65.9% (down 7%).
“Two decades after the end of apartheid‚ a child’s scholastic success is still very much determined by the province they live in and what school they go to.”
Cope’s Dennis Bloem said Tuesday’s announcement “had more gloss than the actual results warranted”.
“Unfortunately‚ the minister of basic education is not taking South African education forward. She is too concerned to be in good books with Sadtu. South African basic education is therefore going from bad to worse‚” he added.
“The ruling party has allowed Sadtu to hijack education and to wreak havoc. South African children are therefore paying the price.”