Not pursuing 100% pass rate is the 'mistake', Mr Soobrayan: iLIVE

04 January 2013 - 13:16 By Tintagel
Bobby Soobrayan. File photo.
Bobby Soobrayan. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

It’s more than a little worrying that Basic Education director-general Bobby Soobrayan could even begin to think that putting too much emphasis on the matric pass rate would be “a mistake”.

One would think that there could have never been too much emphasis on the number of pupils passing the basic minimum qualification offered by the education department. Without matric, the pupils who have been at the mercy of the learning system managed by the department for a dozen years will find it very tough to gain admission to higher studies, and to find any kind of gainful employment.

One would think that Soobrayan, as a highly-paid custodian of that department, would be very sharply focused on ensuring that no fewer than 100% of pupils educated under his authority would pass. One would think he would never even begin to consider anything less as anywhere close to acceptable.

He qualifies his astounding comments with the even more extraordinary cachet that a focus on the pass rate only could become a “perversion” that could impact “negatively” on the system, and in particular divert attention from other priorities in education.

How on earth can a sharp, committed, focus on ensuring that every single pupil passes matric in any way divert attention from any other priorities? What other priorities is he talking about?

He tries vainly to say that equal or greater attention should be paid to the "quality" of the passes.

What a mealy-mouthed load of unadulterated hogwash.

Perhaps Soobrayan can explain how the two focal points differ?

Surely providing an education system good enough to ensure that every pupil will pass will also improve quality. After all, it would be nigh impossible to bring the bottom of the class up to speed for 12 years in order to pass matric without sustaining a system of good teaching, good resources and good support without also improving the quality of the top of the class.

Perhaps he thinks the two are completely disconnected. Perhaps that’s why he should no longer be director-general of the department, and make way for someone less prone to making such idiotic comments and more sharply focused on jacking up the education system to the point where every single child who goes through it can come out after 12 years with a top-class matric. Where there is a 100% pass rate.

In short, someone else who thinks the pass rate actually does matter.