Pass marks discussed

2017-07-19 06:03

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has clarified the issue on the minimum promotion requirements in the schooling system following reports that it plans to drop pass marks in schools even further.

In a statement issued on 6 July, the department stated that a task team established by the minister of Education in 2009 to investigate poor curriculum implementation in schools recommended, among other things, changes to the programme and promotion requirements in the foundation, intermediate and senior phase.

The National Curriculum Statement, Gr. R to Gr. 12, was approved as national policy and published in the Government Gazette 34600, Notices 722 and 723 of 12 September 2011. It contained the new promotion and progression requirements.

The department states that the new promotion requirements are not aligned with the National Senior Certificate (NSC) promotion requirements, which is the national benchmark.

“Hence there is a need to align the promotion requirements across the foundation, intermediate and senior phase with the further education and training band,” says Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the DBE.

“The department has been monitoring the implementation of the new requirements in the provinces. It was apparent from the 2014 mid-year performance that the new promotion requirements were adversely affecting the performance of learners at school level.”

Mhlanga says to minimise the impact of the higher promotion requirements in the senior phase, the DBE issued National Assessment Circular 3 of 2015 to allow for the adjustment of marks and in 2016, given the adverse impact of the compulsory pass requirement of Mathematics at 40%, a special condonation dispensation for Mathematics was applied.

“Based on National Assessment Circular 3 of 2016, learners who passed all other subjects, but failed Mathematics with a minimum mark of 20%, were condoned and would thus pass Mathematics and pass the examination as a whole. It is therefore considered necessary, having observed the negative impact of the compulsory pass requirement of Mathematics at 40% and language (home language), at 50%, to consider amending policy and regulations in order to respond to the challenges and the unintended consequences brought about by the new programme and promotion requirements,” said Mhlanga.

The proposal that will be consulted relating to the senior phase include the following:

  • pass four subjects at 40%, one of which is a home language;
  • pass any other four subjects at 30%; and
  • Mathematics is removed as a compulsory promotion requirement.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.