'30% for matric not norm'
Just a small number of matrics passed with only the minimum 30%, according to quality assurance body Umalusi.
Briefing parliament's portfolio committee on basic education about last year's matric exams yesterday, Umalusi chairman Sizwe Mabizela said the exams were less dependent on an aggregate mark than the old national senior certificate exams.
"With the new national senior certificate there is a sub-minimum of 30% in three subjects and 40% in three, including a home language," he said.
The department has been accused of setting standards low to boost the pass rate.
Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi told MPs that most of the irregularities during last year's matric exams were of a technical nature, but there had been concerns about the awarding of marks for life orientation, and that those who got 80% could be marked down.
Mabizela told MPs that while the country focused primarily on matric results as a measure of the education system, things had to be done long before matric.
"My appeal is that we invest in the front end of the education system like early childhood development. Grade 10, 11 and 12 will take care of themselves if we invest in [earlier education]."
He told the committee that the focus had to be shifted also to the improvement of teachers: "Many of the teachers were denied [a] quality education, they never had good teaching knowledge.