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Lynn-lee Devajee from Trafalgar High School talks about her matric results. (Neil Bekker, News24)
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Cape Town - Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant on Thursday lamented the decline in the province's 2009 matric pass rate, but was optimistic future results would show an improvement."When our administration came into office in May last year, we knew we had inherited an education system that was in distress based on an assessment of a number of basic, but deep seated indicators," he said at a function to announce the results at Leeuwenhof.This was also evident in the gradual decline of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate, from 85.1% in 2004 to 78.6% in 2008.75.7% pass rate"Not surprisingly, it has not been possible to reverse this decline in a very short period and I have this morning to announce a disappointing further 2.9% decrease from 78.6% to 75.7%."Of the 44 931 pupils who wrote the full exam, 34 017 passed.Another disappointment was the number of pupils who qualified for bachelors' degree, diploma or certificate studies.A total of 14 324 (31.9%) qualified for access to studies for bachelors' degrees, compared to 14 512 (33%) in 2008.A total of 12 677 candidates qualified for access to diploma studies and 6 988 for certificates.In 2008, 12 842 candidates qualified for diploma studies and 7 108 for certificates.Maths and science declineAltogether 19 210 pupils sat mathematics this year and 12 467 passed (64.9%) compared to 13 003 (65.2%) in 2008.The physical science result was also very concerning.Of the 13 349 candidates who sat the paper this year, only 7 064 (52.9%) passed - a dramatic decrease from last year where 9 690 passed with a percentage pass rate of 71.2.Grant said there would be a comprehensive analysis of all the results over the coming days."It is obvious by these results that we have a long way to go before ensuring that all the learners of the Western Cape achieve the kinds of quality passes that will improve their life chances and provide for better opportunities and choices," he said.10 key objectives"These results strengthen our resolve to strive unflinchingly towards implementing our 10 key objectives of the strategic plan for education which we announced late last year."The plan outlined how the provincial government intended to improve education outcomes and provided specific targets for improvement in literacy and numeracy, NSC exam results and under-performing schools."This is a bold and necessary initiative which no other provincial or national administration has undertaken.""Today's announcement confirms that we were wise to do so. Today's results provide us with a baseline to measure real performance over the next ten years, and, through a sustained, focused and systematic approach we will achieve the targets that we have set."Turnaround strategy"I have ensured that our head of department, Penny Vinjevold, will meet with the eight district directors tomorrow [Friday] to further cement our turnaround strategy for education in the province.""In particular, we will place special emphasis on ensuring that our plan dramatically improves performance at our under-performing secondary schools, particularly in Khayelitsha, Langa, Gugulethu and surrounding areas.""We simply cannot continue to have the intolerable situation where the majority of these schools are not in a position to provide the quality of education that all learners are entitled to.""We will therefore leave no stone unturned to ensure that we reach our target of eliminating underperforming and dysfunctional high schools by 2014," Grant said.
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