Limpopo pledges 60% matric pass rate

2010-05-20 10:27

Limpopo’s provincial government has promised a matric pass rate of

at least 60% this year.

The public pledge, made by the provincial government’s social

cluster – chaired by education MEC Dickson Masemola – came after the province

achieved an embarrassing 48,9 % last year.

Premier Cassel Mathale’s government broke a long-standing tradition

in a province where previous premiers and education MECs refused to publicly

commit to any grade 12 pass rates.

The pledge followed public pressure after the province, for the

first time in many years, performed worse than the Eastern Cape.

The disaster capped a five-year downward spiral that saw results

drop from more than 55% to just below 50%.

Masemola – whose cluster comprises of the departments of education,

health and social development, safety and security, sports, arts and culture,

home affairs and local government and housing – said the figure was meant “to

put everybody under pressure towards achieving it”.

“In fact, the 60% pass rate is not necessarily the maximum pass

rate expected,” Masemola said.

“I am saying, if everything fails, 60% is what I can expect.”

Masemola said the target would be achieved because a turn-around

strategy developed in response to last year’s “unpleasing” matric results was

being implemented.

Known as the school improvement plan, it stresses the improvement

of school principals’ leadership skills, the teaching of the right curriculum

and regular attendance of classes by teachers and learners.

It also requires heads of department (HODs) to ensure pupils are

given work continuously.

“For instance, an HOD responsible for English will have to ensure

that teachers prepare, focus on the right content with lessons that are

well-pitched up to the standard required, which is what we have detected as a


Masemola lamented the level of leadership in some schools, saying

that a principal in the Waterburg district last week told learners to come to

school two hours later than normal because they were writing mid-year


But overcrowding, shortage of maths and science teachers,

classrooms and curriculum advisers as well as school-girl pregnancy may be

stumbling blocks.

More than 10 Sekhukhumele High School pupils at Kgapane township

were pregnant at the beginning of this year.

Samuel Maake, a grade 11 learner, said that some of them have since

given birth.

Masemola said developments such as the one at Sekhukhumele remained

a challenge.

They give pupils added parental responsibilities, lead to

absenteeism on days when child support grants are paid and reduce the levels of

concentration in class because some of the girls get worried about the condition

of their children at home.

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