Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape matriculants are being let down by the education system, the DA and Cosas said on Thursday, after the province scored the lowest pass rate.
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"The learners of this province are being badly let down by the department’s failure to meet its own targets and plans," said DA MPL Edmund van Vuuren in a statement.
"There is no cause for celebration."
Van Vuuren said that plans to reduce the number of districts in the province from 23 to 12, as well as establish 150 circuit offices, had not been fully implemented.
The Eastern Cape had the five worst performing districts, which each obtained a pass rate of less than 50%. The province was the only one which had districts achieving less than 50%.
Van Vuuren blamed the provincial government's style of engagement with the SA Democratic Teachers Union.
"The learners of this province cannot continue to be sacrificed on Sadtu’s altar of appeasement."
Five worst performing districts
Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Students expressed its disappointment that, while they had previously raised issues about the Eastern Cape’s matric performance, "our voices landed on deaf ears".
"It cannot be normal that the five worst performing districts are coming from the Eastern Cape, it cannot be normal that not even a single district out of 23 districts managed to get 90% and above," said provincial secretary Samkele Mqai in a statement.
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Cosas identified inadequate infrastructure and transport for students, as well as a lack of quality teachers, and the insufficient provision of stationery, as key problems in the province. Rural areas were particularly badly affected.
Furthermore, they expressed "disgust" at the "maladministration" in the provincial department of education.
Cosas also urged students who did not pass to seek further options. "It is not the end of the world. There are many options available for them, such as TVET Colleges, registering as independent candidates, going back to school and repeat[ing] matric with more knowledge of what to expect."
The national senior certificate pass rate with progressed pupils is 72.5%. The Eastern Cape improved from 56.8% in 2015, to 59.3%.
Without progressed learners, the Eastern Cape scored 63.3%.
Progressed learners are those who failed Grade 11 for two consecutive years and are then automatically promoted to matric.