KZN matrics best in SA with most exemptions

2014-01-08 00:00

DESPITE coming in just below the national matric pass rate average, KwaZulu-Natal dramatically outperformed all other provinces in the passes “that count” — with a stunning 35% jump in university exemptions.

Meanwhile, Premier Senzo Mchunu yesterday set the unprecedented target of an 80% pass rate for this year, following the 77,4% pass for the matric class of 2013 — up from 73,1% in 2012.

“We are not to accept anything less than 80%. You demonstrated that you can get it. We look forward to working with you to ensure this percentage is achievable,” Mchunu said at the provincial release of matric results in Durban yesterday.

The new target was set as Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni threatened to crack the whip on principals of underperforming schools.

But in the most stunning achievement across the provinces, Nkonyeni revealed that 47 202 matriculants last year earned the right to study bachelors degrees — compared to just 34 779 in 2012.

This also compares favourably to Gauteng’s 38 104 bachelor passes — in second position — and just 19 477 exemptions for the Western Cape.

Nkonyeni said: “This development demonstrates the impact that the system is making in improving quality.”

Anthony Pierce, KZN head of the National Professional Teachers Organisation, said the increased exemptions represented a “stand-out” performance.

Announcing the results, Nkonyeni said out of the 145 278 candidates who sat for the final examinations, 112 403 passed and 32 875 failed.

Other highlights of the matric results included:

• 42 760 matriculants can now study for a diploma, compared to 36 841 in the previous year;

• A 53,6% pass rate in mathematics (five percent increase);

• A 66,4% pass rate in physical science compared to 58% in 2012;

• Life sciences pass rate increased from 67% to 75,4%.

• Schools that obtained less than a 25% pass rate declined from 34 to 25; and

• Seven percent of the province’s schools achieved a 100% pass.

Nkonyeni complained about performance in the commercial subjects — business studies, accounting and economics — which recorded only a marginal increase to a 66% pass rate. She said the department were “victims of our own success”.

“Over the years we paid more attention in gateway subjects such as mathematics, physical science and technology. In the process, we seem to have neglected other subjects.”

Her sentiments were shared by head of department Nkosinathi Sishi, who said: “We have to say we are not happy with 66% pass rate. We feel we can do better.”

Nkonyeni said the department would pay attention to the schools that underperformed and make appropriate interventions.

“There is no room at the inn for lethargy and incompetence.

“People who are misfits in our education system must either show their interest to learn to enable themselves or voluntarily leave or we will push them out.

“They must either ship in or ship out,” Nkonyeni said.

She said two schools — with seven and 12 matriculants — were an embarrassment for recording a zero pass rate.

The matric results drew mixed reaction from parties and unions.

Sadtu secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said the fact that KZN produced more than 100 000 matriculants, the most in South Africa, showed it produced the skills base for the country.

Education portfolio committee chair Linda Hlongwa said the results were a step in the right direction, and that the pass rate should be entrenched.

The IFP’s Mntomuhle Khawula congratulated the matric class of 2013 in the country and in KwaZulu-Natal for the improvements in the matric results.

The DA’s Tom Stokes said: “The rush to applaud a 4,3% increase in the KZN matric results, signals yet another year in which mediocrity is being celebrated amid an extravaganza of political posturing.”

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