Survey: pupils from former model C schools perform better

2011-01-18 00:00

IT’S settled. It’s the school and not race that is the main determiner of whether matriculants make the cut in their final examinations.

That’s if the latest survey conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) is anything to go by.

SAIRR found that regardless of race, a pupil’s chance of passing matric improves dramatically if he or she attends a former model C school.

This can be attributed to the fact that former model C schools are better resourced and perhaps better managed than other schools, the researchers say.

Model C institutions were formerly whites-only schools.

With the overall matric pass rate at 60% in 2009, former model C schools managed a 94% pass among all their pupils.

The research shows that the pupils’ performance in model C schools in 2009 was generally much better among all races.

African and coloured pupils in former model C schools managed a 88% matric pass rate in 2009.

For African pupils, this was significantly better than the 55% overall pass rate of all Africans who wrote matric that year, while for coloured pupils, the 88% pass rate was also significantly higher than the 76% of all coloured pupils who wrote the examination.

The pass rate in former model C schools for Indian pupils was 98% compared to the overall pass rate for all Indian pupils who wrote, which came in at 92%. Among white pupils the overall pass rate and that of former model C schools was 99%.

Relating the history of former model C schools, SAIRR researcher Marius Roodt said these schools were introduced in the early 1990s.

Parents with children in the white government schools were given a choice between three models of how schools should be structured in the future, and a fourth option was added in 1992.

Model A would see the schools becoming fully private. Model B meant that the school would remain a state school but would be allowed to accept black pupils, who could only make up half of the pupil population at that school.

And lastly, schools that followed the model C route would be considered semi-private. These schools would receive a government subsidy, but would need to raise the balance of their budget through fees and donations. These schools could also admit black pupils who would make up 50% of the pupil body.

Schools who chose model D, which was added in 1992, would remain under the control of the Education Department but would be able to admit an unlimited number of black pupils.

However, in 1992 the government made the decision that all the schools under the control of the House of Assembly — about 1 900 former white schools — would in fact become model C schools. These schools made up about 96% of all schools that were under the House of Assembly’s control.

Besides the fact that these schools are well resourced, Roodt believes that what also contributes to the success of former model C schools is the greater involvement of parents through entities such as the school governing bodies.

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