Sadtu congratulates successful matrics

2010-01-07 10:44

THE South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) today

congratulated successful matrics, their families, teachers and the

examiners.

“Those who did not make it this time should not give up, and we

expect the education department to support their efforts to re-write,” said

Sadtu president Thobile Ntola in a statement.

Overall the results still reflected the two economies – pupils from

the working class and poor communities still experienced problems, clearly

reflecting the informal and formal economies, Ntola said.

“Sadtu welcomes the prompt release of the 2009 matric results, and

that systems are now embedded both to prevent irregularities and to benchmark

standards.

“The fact that the irregularities in Mpumalanga were quickly picked

up is encouraging,” said Ntola, adding that Sadtu fully supported the actions of

the exam quality assurance body, Umalusi, in conducting full investigations in

the affected areas.

This was necessary to preserve the integrity of the exam results

which was in the interests of pupils, said Ntola. “The evidence is that the

irregularities in Mpumalanga stem mostly from fly-by-night private schools

providing a market for exam papers provided by corrupt or lax officials. This

clearly points to a need for greater regulation of this sector.”

Ntola said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had acted

resolutely in stripping the province of its powers to run exams.

“In the light of repeated problems in Mpumalanga’s education

department, we also call for an independent commission of enquiry. We strongly

urge legislators and education portfolio committees to call education department

heads to account for education delivery in their provinces,” he said.

Similarly, circuit managers and district officials should take

responsibility for poor performance in their districts.

The union also called on its members, school by school, to analyse

the failures and successes in their own institutions and draw up plans to

address the problems.

Ntola said Sadtu was encouraged that 552?000 pupils wrote the

matric examinations last year, compared to 533?000 in 2008. However, he said:

“The pass rate of 60.6%, down from 62.5% last year, gives grounds for serious

concern.”

While KwaZulu-Natal experienced an increase in the number of pupils

who passed, the other provinces saw a decline.

“Sadtu believes that the additional Saturday school programmes

implemented by the union in KwaZulu-Natal made a contribution,” he said.

Issues of historical disadvantage and poverty associated with race,

class and the rural-urban divide, as well as uneven support and poor management,

especially in some districts and provinces, were crucial.

“For those who wrote and failed – a third or some 217?000 this year

– what provision is there to support them in re-writing?” the statement

questioned.

University exemptions stood at 32% of passes. There was a small

increase in absolute numbers to 109?697, from 107?462 last year.

Ntola said: “For those students from poor communities who passed

and achieved endorsements, much more needs to be done to assist access to

tertiary and higher education institutions.

“For school-leavers who will not go to university, the development

of the FET [further education training] sector and skills development

opportunities in industry become vital, especially in this period of high

unemployment.”

Ntola added it was essential that the department and its

researchers provide deeper analysis into the results, so that education

stakeholders could learn from the problems faced last year.


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