Raising matric pass mark will need thorough research – Umalusi

2012-12-28 14:28

The matric pass minimum requirement of 30% is sufficient for now, although the bar could be set a little higher to get learners to aim higher, Umalusi chairperson professor Sizwe Mabizela has said.

He said only 0.09% of learners scraped through on this minimum requirement. “The majority of students who pass do much better than that,” he said.

To pass the National Senior Certificate exams, students have to get at least 40% in language and maths, and 30% in the other subjects.

Announcing at a press conference in Pretoria this morning that this year’s National Senior Certificate exams were fair and credible, and that the results can be released next week, Mabizela said: “The minimum requirements don’t mean that that is all the students get.”

Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi said raising the minimum requirements for a matric pass would need thorough research. “If we want to set the bar higher than 30% or 40%, how high do we want to set it? It would need thorough research with scientific conclusions,” he said.

Ramoketsi said the minimum requirements could not be blamed for university dropout rates. “Not one of the children going to university is there on only 30%,” he said.

This year the results of 44 subjects were left unadjusted, while the marks in four subjects were adjusted upwards and 13 downwards for the National Senior Certificate exams, which most students wrote.

In total, 527 335 full-time and 120 352 part-time candidates sat these exams, while 8 959 full-time and 534 part-time candidates sat the Independent Examinations Board exams.

Mabizela expressed concern over the high dropout rates in FET colleges, where only 91 111 candidates out of the 167 055 enrolled for the courses completed their exams.

He said the “high attrition of learners amounts to, inter alia, inefficient use of resources and fruitless expenditure”.

Mabizela also condemned the behaviour of parents in the Northern Cape, where children were prevented from going to school by parents out of protest against government service delivery failures.

“To the extent that we did not provide strong and decisive leadership in asserting the constitutional right of learners in the Northern Cape, we were complicit in condemning those young people to a life of hopelessness and despair,” he said.

Mabizela said the failure of textbook delivery in Limpopo only affected grade 10 learners, but he hoped it would not affect the final results of these learners in two years’ time.

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