'Education dept failing SA kids'

2013-01-03 19:55
Matrics wait anxiously for their results. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Matrics wait anxiously for their results. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - A variety of organisations commented on Thursday on the country's improved matric pass rate.

"The department of higher education and training should be hands-on in ensuring that no deserving students are denied access to tertiary education," National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.

He said universities had a "social responsibility" to help students who were poor or came from rural areas.

"Some of these matriculants have not had access to libraries, laboratories and the learning technology that is needed at matric level. They are a reflection of our unequal society and therefore a collective approach is needed to help them."

The SA Teachers' Union said the 2012 matric results should be approached with "caution".

Spokesperson Ted Townsend said the higher pass rate seemed "somewhat unrealistic".

The 2012 matric pass rate improved over a year by 3.7%, to 73.9%.

Townsend said the matric results did not match the results of the annual national assessments in lower grades.

"The apparent incongruencies and discrepancies between the intervention results and the Grade 12 results cannot be ignored."

Pupils and teachers should thus not "become too comfortable" because of the overall matric pass rate.

The Inkatha Freedom Party raised concerns about pupils who dropped out of school before reaching matric, as well as the poor Mathematics and Science results.

"The sad state of affairs remains that the department of education is failing our children," the party's education spokesperson Alfred Mponstshane said.

Rural schools needed more equipment and the country needed teachers competent in maths and science.

The Young Communist League (YCL) said matric results should not be published in the media.

"We will continue making this call and urging the department of basic education to consider the high suicide rate and depression when marks are published in the media," spokesperson Khaya Xaba said.

On Wednesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said she was establishing a task team to investigate the consequences of publishing results with names in newspapers.

The YCL said more pupils should be encouraged to attend FET colleges, instead of universities. This would provide much-needed workplace skills and offer increased choices to school leavers.

The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape was pleased to have achieved a stable pass rate. "We managed to maintain a constant pass rate of 82%," spokesperson for education in the provincial legislature, Cathy Labuschagne, said.

In 2011, the pass rate in the province was 82.9% and in 2012, 82.8%.

The SA Youth Council said the Limpopo matric results were a "beacon of hope". A total of 66.9% of Limpopo matric students passed, 3% more than in 2011.

In 2012, there were severe delays in the delivery of textbooks to a number of grades. Matrics were however not affected.

"Limpopo have proved that odds stacked against us as a people have never defined us," the council's president Thulani Tshefuta said.

The SA Communist Party in KwaZulu-Natal said "something better could have been achieved" with the matric results. Provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said the fact that more than 80% of those who passed received less than a 50% average was also worrying.

The SACP in the Eastern Cape said the matric results in its province were a "true reflection" of socio-economic conditions there.

"It is a testimony of our historical inequalities and under-development," provincial spokesperson Siyabonga Mdodi said.

The Eastern Cape scored a 61.6% 2012 matric pass rate - the lowest in the country - but up from its 2011 58.1% equivalent.

Meanwhile, the Christian Democratic Party expressed concerns that matric standards were too low.

This placed increased pressure on tertiary institutions, and meant they had to provide bridging courses, party leader Theunis Botha said.

Read more on:    ycl  |  sacp  |  sadtu  |  cdp  |  ifp  |  education  |  matric

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