Haggling cost us – education MEC

2012-01-05 13:06

Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula has conceded that haggling over who should administer the department after it was taken over by national government, had cost the province – which registered the lowest matric pass rate in the country.

The province put in a dismal performance as only 58.1% of the 65 359 matrics who sat down for final exams last year passed.

This was way below the 70.2% national average, and topped off an unstable year for education in the province.

Nationally the Western Cape put in the best performance with a pass rate of 82.9%, and was followed closely by Gauteng (81.1%), and North West (77.8%).

Announcing the results, Makupula conceded a number of issues, including handling of the intervention and uneasy relationship with teacher union Sadtu were to blame.

“We lost valuable time coming to an understanding of who should be in charge ... I mean three to four months is really unfortunate and painful. Valuable time was lost because we couldn’t decide, but fortunately the president intervened and we could move forward.”

Instability has been a recurring theme in education in the province, which has had 14 MECs, and even more heads of department, since 1994.

Last year was no different as administration was in a shambles with no scholar transport for rural pupils who live far from school, no feeding schemes, while learner and teacher support materials and textbooks were not delivered to all schools because of tender irregularities.

President Jacob Zuma’s announcement, in March, of a constitutional takeover bred more problems as it saw a prolonged tussle for power and control between Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the province’s political powers, who eventually won the day when Zuma intervened in July.

For the Eastern Cape this year’s pass rate represented a 0.2 percentage point drop from last year, and was some 1.9 percentage points off the target set by Premier Noxolo Kiviet – who was a notable absence at the announcement.

Officials said she was at an Executive Council meeting discussing the results and a way forward.


Makupula argued there were qualitative improvements such as the increase by 66 learners of last year’s 10 225 Bachelor Degree admission qualifications, and diploma increases from 15 281 learners to 15 530.

“The province has increased the number of schools that have performed at 100% from 44 in 2010 to 47 in 2011. Furthermore, the number of schools performing at below 60% has decreased from 497 in 2010 to 481 in 2011, a reduction of 16 schools,” he said.

Mathematics and physical science passes were also far below the national norm at 33.5% and 46% respectively. The national pass rates are 46.3% and 53.4% respectively for the two subjects.

Last year the province managed a poor 37.7% pass rate for the mathematics and 43.3% for physical science.

» Suren Govender, chief director for curriculum management and exams, said the results of three schools were withheld while the department was investigating “serious” irregularities.

“At the moment investigations are under way and it would be inappropriate to reveal the names of the schools.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.