Are we setting the bar too low?

2018-03-20 06:00
Hillcrest High School pupil Tayla Fiedel studying hard for her matric year.PHOTO: Supplied

Hillcrest High School pupil Tayla Fiedel studying hard for her matric year.PHOTO: Supplied

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THE public has been given 21 days to respond by written submission to the Department of Basic Education after minister Angie Motshekga recently made an announcement about lowering the pass requirements in public schools to help review the entire General Educations and Training Band (GET) phase last week.

As it stands, pupils who get below 50% in their home language cannot progress to the next grade, but with the proposed amendment made by the Department of Education, it is seeking to lower the threshold for Grades 7,8 and 9 to 40%, which means that a pupil who obtains 40% in his or her mother-tongue language and three other subjects is able to progress to the next grade, which means a pupil obtaining 30% in three subjects in the three grades would be able to progress to the next grade.

This has raised a lot of alarms in the educational sphere, with some teachers suggesting that a change to the curriculum would be better received than yet another motion of lowering the pass rate.

The department’s Florence Modipa said that this motion is not about pupils only passing two subjects well, and emphasised that it does involve senior-phase pupils.

“It’s definitely not about pupils passing just two subjects.

We understand that the issue of the quality of teaching and learning is important to meet the demands of the 21st century,” said Modipa.

She continued to add that the aim of this motion is not to get larger numbers to move on to higher grades but to give every pupil a chance.

Hillcrest High School principal C.M. Girvin said that some years ago, the pass requirement was raised and it is now being lowered to what it used to be.

“Schools should be committed to maintaining a teaching and learning environment which emphasises excellence and also prepares pupils for an ever–changing world, in which the minimum pass mark is of secondary importance,” said Girvin.

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