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DA slams matric 'mistake'

2010-01-09 19:20

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance has lambasted the minister of basic education for her mistake in announcing the wrong figure of 2009 matrics who had qualified for bachelor degree studies.

"It beggars belief that the department of basic education could not even do the basic arithmetic needed to calculate the matric exemption rate," said DA shadow minister for basic education Juanita Kloppers-Lourens in a statement on Saturday.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday that 32% of matrics qualified for higher education, although the matric pass rate fell from 62.5% in 2008 to 60.7% in 2009.

The department later acknowledged that the correct figure of those who qualified for higher education was infact 19.8%.

"The figure of 32% quoted in the minister's speech was a calculation based on the total number of learners who had passed, and not on the number of learners who wrote the examinations," said departmental spokesperson Granville Whittle in a statement on Friday.

'Scandalous'

Kloppers said this was a "scandalous error".

"Cabinet ministers in other countries have been sacked for far less. It is frankly staggering that the minister has spent the last 48 hours blaming everyone but the ANC administration for another year of disgraceful matric results, when evidence abounds of the basic education department's utter incompetence in the performance of even routine tasks," she said.

The DA also attacked the minister of doing little more than buying herself official vehicles worth R1.7m.

Furthermore, the party said, Motshekga failed to deliver on her pledge to deliver 30 million workbooks for Grade 1 to Grade 6 pupils in time for the 2010 school year as part of the new curriculum. This was because the department advertised the tenders to deliver the books too late, the party said.

"The litany of failings under Minister Motshekga's tenure to this point make it quite clear that the ANC government is neither willing nor able to take the kind of action needed to tackle the real problems in our public education system," said Kloppers.