10% rise in pass rate ‘a pipe dream’

2017-10-12 13:45
KZN Education Department ‘has failed schools’.

KZN Education Department ‘has failed schools’. (File)

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The South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu-Natal has thrown cold water on the provincial Education Department’s pledge to improve the matric pass rate by 10%.

The union, which is expected to stage a march in Durban on Friday, said nothing has been done to address major challenges, ranging from the filling of vacant posts to infrastructure challenges at schools in the province.

Last month The Witness reported that KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane said they were aiming for a 76,4% pass rate this year.

Last year, KZN was the third worst performing province with a pass rate of 66,4%, although this was an improvement from 60,7% in 2015.

Sadtu provincial deputy secretary Bheki Shandu said the 10% increase was not feasible.

“There are quite a number of things that the department has been unable to attend to which talk directly to the delivery of quality education.

“The department has failed to transfer finance allocations to our schools, plunging managers of schools into financial crisis that led to many having to borrow money to run schools. This state of affairs makes a mockery of a state department which is guided by legislation and policy directives on all mandates and operations,” he said.

He said if the department wanted to achieve particular strategic goals it must be in a position to ensure that investment is directed to the pursuit of those goals. “As Sadtu we maintain that the department has not invested enough in the schooling system to ensure that we get those good results.”

Shandu said many schools in the province lack basic infrastructural facilities like toilets and adequate classrooms.

“Schools were hit by storms in 2016 and this has revisited the province recently. Storm-damaged schools used to receive preferential treatment in infrastructural maintenance to immediately restore effective teaching and learning under a conducive environment.

“The affected schools are always in the far-lying areas where in the main parents had forked out their pennies to build such structures in the past. The department must prioritise these schools as some of the situations teachers and pupils are exposed to undermine human dignity,” he said.

With less than two weeks left before the 2017 matric class sit for this year’s final examinations, KZN Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa maintained that the department was ready.

“The department has done everything to assist teachers and pupils to ensure that we obtain the desired results. Since the beginning of the year we have been assisting our pupils with boot camps and winter classes. We also trained our teachers through various workshops and assigned them subject advisors.”

Mthethwa said they had dedicated special focus to critical subjects like maths and science.

Matric examinations will officially start on October 23.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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