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EDITORIAL | Scrap policy that allows matrics three chances at school to pass

Academics are right in saying “over-aged” matrics should complete their schooling at adult learning facilities

13 June 2022 - 19:22

In an ideal world, all pupils should complete matric after 12 years. But the reality is that hundreds of thousands of pupils repeat grades annually after failing tests and exams. In the Eastern Cape, 204,086 pupils across all grades were repeaters in 2020 after failing in 2019. The cost of keeping these youngsters in Eastern Cape schools in 2020 was an estimated R4.2bn. The department of basic education’s progression and promotion policies stipulate that pupils may only remain in a phase for a maximum of four years. For example, a pupil in the senior phase (grades 7 to 9) who fails may only be retained in any one of the three grades once. If the pupil fails the grade again, he or she is “progressed” to the next grade. The Council of Education Ministers (CEM), comprising basic education minister Angie Motshekga and her nine provincial MECs of education, decided in 2019 to implement an “automatic progression” policy in grades 1 to 3, meaning pupils who fail any of these grades must be pushed to the next grade. But the policy has not been implemented...

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