‘Giveaway marks make idiots of black matriculants’

2010-12-02 00:00

THE call by the KZN branch of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union for lenient marking for matriculants after the three-week public service strike in August implies that black pupils cannot stand on their own, says a Zibukezulu Technical High School pupil, Noluthando Makhathini (18).

Said Noluthando, who plans to read for a degree in chemical engineering, “For me that is no different to the apartheid system, which made idiots out of us. I don’t feel that black schools are under-resourced; they are just lacking in commitment … when study time was called for during the strike, students were not interested. Children are not willing to learn.”

Lungisani Mkhize (18) of Nsikayethu Secondary School in Imbali Unit 18 also found the call by the union insulting. “I have worked too hard to have my efforts undermined in that way. I plan on going to tertiary next year; if I get in with good results, will they know that it was through blood, sweat and tears or will I be covered with the same blanket as everyone for being given marks?”

Nonhlanhla Njilo (18) of Willowfountain Intermediate said her school, like Nsikayethu, was not affected by the strike. She too believes the call is nonsensical since being given marks does not equate to the transfer of knowledge.

Bheki Sithole (18) of Mehlokazulu is critical of the union’s attempt to undo the effects of the strike: “When teachers went on strike, they were looking after their own interests. Now they are trying to help us with free marks …”

He is unhappy with the results of the mock exam, which he wrote a week after returning to school.

PROFESSOR Volker Wedekind, deputy dean of the faculty of education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, believes that learning in a second language can be a disadvantage, especially if pupils have not been taught the language well and if teachers do not have sufficient competence in the second language.

This is not a problem specific to 2010, Wedekindsaid; the issue should be addressed by quality assurance body Umalusi, which would a require major investment if subjects in grade 12 were to be offered in languages other than English and Afrikaans.

Wedekind said Sadtu’s call for lenient matric marking will have a far-reaching effect in the face of perceptions that education standards are slipping.

The status of the grade 12 certificate would be compromised in the eyes of the public and the trust in the school exit certificate would be further undermined.

This could lead to the higher education sector being more inclined to develop its own entrance tests and employers doubting the value of the certificate.

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