KZN Education MEC blames predecessors for province's previous poor performances

2017-01-05 14:12
Mthandeni Dlungwana (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Mthandeni Dlungwana (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana on Thursday took a swipe at his predecessors, blaming the province's poor performance in previous years on "weak leadership".

"Previously, there was a lack of leadership. The leadership failed to take decisive decisions and lacked accountability," he said.

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Speaking at the release of the province's 2016 National Senior Certificate results at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, Dlungwana said education was the only way to break the cycle of poverty.

"The question that we ceaselessly ask is, 'why these declines', when we had support programmes in place? A few indicators point to weak leadership, lack of accountability - especially in schools and districts - non-completion of curriculum, lack of quality common assessments throughout the system, curriculum changes, and lack of resources.

"The most important one amongst these is the leadership that failed to take decisions and to act decisively."

He said the province had achieved a pass rate of 66.4% in 2016 and had come seventh nationally, with the Free State claiming the first position.

'Shocked, ashamed and embarrassed'

Dlungwana said the 2014/15 academic results had left the province "shocked, ashamed and embarrassed, but still willing to reflect and turn the situation around".

KwaZulu-Natal has seen three serious declines since 2006.

Between 2006 and 2008 the pass rate dropped by 8%.

It dropped a further 3% between 2010 and 2011.

The biggest drop was 16.7% experienced between 2013 and 2015.

"In 2013, we received 77.4%, in 2014 we received 69.7% and in 2015, 60.7%."

He said KwaZulu-Natal, being the second largest province, was faced with tough challenges.

"We acknowledge that, as one of the most rural provinces, we are confronted with unemployment, poverty and inequality, and this places a burden on our schooling system."

Welcoming guests, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, said 2017 was a year for celebrating and encouraging unity.

Gumede said the ANC’s Oliver Tambo, one of the organisation's brightest minds, would have turned 100 this year.

"The ANC has always encouraged Africans to study. I encourage learners to be like OR Tambo. Today, President Jacob Zuma has managed to produce more than 20 000 students through his foundation."

R4.5m set aside for bursaries

She congratulated the province for registering more Africans in Maths and Science.

"We need more and more people with science for our economy to grow."

She said schools should have proper infrastructure to encourage pupils to perform better.

"Without proper infrastructure, our pupils will never succeed. As the City, we need to ensure that there are services in schools."

Gumede said that R4.5m had been set aside for poor students to further their studies.

"My office will be offering bursaries for those poor students. I encourage them to apply so that they can go and study. We don’t want matriculants who have performed well not to be able to go out and study."

Other MECs that attended the briefing were Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and Rural Development MEC Themba Mthembu.

Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, and members of teacher unions, were also present.

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  education  |  matric 2016

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