THE newly formed KwaZulu-Natal Education Alliance yesterday defended the controversial 30% matric pass mark. Provincial South African Democratic Teachers’ Union spokesperson Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, who was speaking on behalf of the alliance, said those who were critical of the current system were being ridiculous. The release of matric results earlier this month again prompted an outcry from those critical of the 30% pass mark system. Renowned University of Free State vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen has called on government schools to set a 50% pass mark to get South Africa’s education system on track. DA leader Helen Zille has also been vocal and questioned the legitimacy of the matric results. Mathonsi, addressing a group of journalists in Durban, said there was nothing wrong with pupils who obtain a “certificate pass” because not everyone wants to go to university. In the current education system, pupils need only 40% in three subjects — including home language — and 30% in another three subjects to pass. In his statement he said, “We believe that the advanced argument against the education system on this topic is both unscientific and is way outside of the paedagogical reality of our assessment system.” The alliance also believes that disadvantaged schools are still trapped in the “untransformed curriculum content” because subjects were limited in poorer schools. Mathonsi said during the apartheid era a pupil could have passed a matric subject even if they achieved less than 30%. The alliance is composed of the National Association of School Governing Bodies (SGB), the SA National Civic Organisation, Popcru, Nehawu, Samwu, Sadtu, Cosas, Sasco, YCL and ANCYL. The alliance was formed in response to the government’s call to mobilise society on key priority issues. They will target social issues such as pregnancy and drugs, security and sanitation. Meanwhile, Mathonsi said, unions such as Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union and National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union members will adopt schools with a hope of making them better facilities. The association also said they are engaging with the Department of Education for pupils not to be refused to repeat Grade 12 if they failed and said they were concerned about FET colleges reducing the number of students they take this year.