Angie Motshekga’s argument is a joke

2013-11-03 14:00

Daniel Maine

via email

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s attempt to explain that 30% is not the pass mark is a joke (“Debunking the 30% pass myth”, City Press, October 20 2013).

She says: “There is no such thing as a 30% pass mark for our National Senior Certificate (NSC).

The real facts are that learners need to obtain 40% in their home-language subjects and two other subjects, and a minimum of 30% in three other subjects.”

The point the minister misses is that basic education is not about the pass mark; it is about the process of learning and learning how to learn.

Two of the critical aspects of learning how to learn are the development of perseverance and self-discipline in learners. Clearly, it takes a lot less effort to get 40% than to get 50%.

School is where children should learn the importance of hard work and how to grapple with difficult problems.

By lowering the benchmark, we are simply deluding ourselves into thinking that last year’s matric results were the best ever. They were not.

There should be pride associated with excellence while we help those who struggle and address the myriad problems befalling education.

Reducing the benchmark to 30% and 40% is the worst possible solution.

In fact, it’s an “anti-solution”.

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