Masualle demands answers on poor matric results

2015-01-06 16:06

Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle wants to know why the province failed to meet its own target of a 70% pass rate for the class of 2014.

Masualle today told MEC Mandla Makupula during a media briefing in East London that it was not acceptable that the province failed to meet the target it had set.

This follows the province coming last in the country with a pass rate of 65.4%, which was a marginal increase of 0.5% compared to 2013 when it achieved 64.9%.

MEC Makupula has in the past year committed his department to achieving the 70% pass rate.

Masualle also reiterated this target in his inaugural state of the province address in May, saying it was possible to achieve.

But an obviously disappointed Masualle, who put up a brave face at the results announcement press conference, was far from satisfied when he saw his province languish at the bottom yet again.

“Why did we not meet our target of 70% which we were bold enough to set? We must get answers to those questions. I want a convincing report from the MEC of education which will say why is it that we did not get that target,” said Masualle.

“We cannot be making targets and not achieve them; it’s not right to make targets just for the sake of making them. We must take our targets seriously,” he said.

Makupula told City Press that his department would be in a position to give a comprehensive report to the premier by the end of February.

He said although the province came in last in terms of the quantitative results outlook, there were some positives in terms of the quality of the results.

He singled out Rohin Jain from Selborne College in East London, who was the highest achiever in mathematics in the country and also in mathematics and physical science combined.

Jain also took second place in physical science nationally.

Another top learner from the province was Luvo Luzipho from St James Secondary School in Cofimvaba who become the national top achiever in the quintile 3 category and come second in the combined mathematics and physical science category in the country.

Lyle Ressouw from Muir College in Uitenhage achieved third place nationally in the mathematics category.

Makupula said these attributes made him feel like a king after feeling like a peasant during the results announcement by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga yesterday.

He said from 2015 his department would look at improving the performance of the schools by looking at three areas: strengthening school functionality; professional development of educators; and making his department responsive to school needs.

The MEC said closing down unviable schools which had learner numbers below 20 was also part of the plan going forward.

He said the three schools which got a zero pass rate all had numbers below 20.

Another worrying trend for the department, according to the MEC, was the high number of school drop-outs.

Out of 69 224 full-time and 21 376 part-time registered learners, only 66 923 (full-time and part-time) learners sat for the 2014 exams in 923 centres.

Regarding the group-copying scandal, which affected the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, acting head of department Ray Tywakadi said out of 19 centres that were initially identified in the province by Umalusi, only 12 were still being investigated while others had been cleared.

He said an investigation was currently underway to establish if the alleged “group copying” in the six affected districts has any merit.

“We expect the investigations to be completed by January 10 so that it does not affect the processes of schools reopening and so on. If candidates are found guilty of cheating in specific subjects they will be disqualified and required to re-write,” he said.

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