Concerns about quality of matric

2012-01-05 09:10

Cape Town - The 70.2% matric pass rate for 2011 was largely welcomed on Wednesday, with some reflecting on provincial results and the quality of the qualification.

President Jacob Zuma hailed the improved matric pass rate on Wednesday as a "step in the right direction".

"We would also like to draw special attention to those matriculants who, even though faced with adverse learning conditions, performed exceptionally well," Zuma said.

"You have demonstrated not only to your peers but to the rest of the country that your circumstances do not determine what you can and cannot do. We wish you well in your future plans."

The matric pass rate was up from 67.8% in 2010.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced results for 2011 in Pretoria on Wednesday.

She said a total of 348 117 pupils passed their exams. Of these, 24.3% obtained university entrance.

Quality of pass

The Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade questioned whether the certificate would equip pupils with the right skills to excel at tertiary education institutions.

"I am happy that the matric pass rate has stabilised... but I am somewhat concerned about the quality of the actual pass," national chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.

He said the high dropout rate of first year students at such institutions was of concern.

The African People's Convention said more could be done to ensure quality rather than quantity.

"We believe that there's a serious need for improvement on science, maths, business and economics," spokesperson Patrick Sindane said.

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) believed the pass rate was visible proof that the ANC was prioritising education.

"The progress made provides a very firm foundation for the intensification of teaching and learning within the context of prioritised education by the ANC," spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said.

"We will be going to communities to popularise school exit routes and bursary opportunities for all eligible matriculants."

Western Cape

The Democratic Alliance congratulated matrics on Wednesday, especially those in the Western Cape who achieved a national high of 82.9%.

"Seven years of ANC government in the Western Cape saw a drop in the provincial pass rate of 11.6 percentage points, from 87.3% in 2003 to 75.7% in 2009," basic education spokesperson Wilmot James said.

He said the DA's first full year in government, in 2010, saw an improvement to 76.8%.

"It shows that getting the basics right in education can improve our children's education step by step," he said.

Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant said it was important to look not only at the pass rate but also the quality of the passes.

He said 801 more pupils in the province had achieved access to study towards a Bachelor Degree in 2012.

In maths, 68.7% of pupils passed their exam compared to 66% in 2010.

In physical sciences, the provincial pass rate improved from 59.6% to 65.3%.

Grant said one of the most noteworthy provincial results to come out of 2011 was the reduction in underperforming schools (schools that had a pass rate of less than 60% in 2010).

"This is significant as it indicates that improvements are being made not only at the top-end of the system, but also at many of our previously disadvantaged and poorer schools."

Badly performing schools

Inkatha Freedom Party education spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Lindani Mncwango, had less to celebrate after hearing the provincial pass rate dropped from 70.7% to 68.1%.

"The MEC needs to launch immediate investigations into those schools that performed badly," she said.

"Emergency remedy that will accommodate both teachers and learners is needed especially in our worst performing district which happens to be Obonjeni."

Mncwango said the main reason for the drop was "shoddy planning" by the provincial education department.

She said pupils needed to feel empowered and motivated.

"The IFP will be submitting questions to the MEC regarding the unacceptable performance by the province and the irregularities faced by Obonjeni," she said.

The Northern Cape was the other province to record a drop in its pass rate from 72.3% in 2010 to 68.8% in 2011.

Gauteng followed Western Cape as a good performer with a pass rate of 81.1% (78.6% in 2010), followed by the North West with a 77.8% pass rate (75.7% in 2010) and the Free State with a 75.7% pass rate (70.6% in 2010).

The Eastern Cape was the worst-performing province with a 58.1% pass rate, slightly down on the 58.3% achieved in the previous year.

Mpumalanga, which had in recent years been the poor performer, saw its pass rate jump from 56.8% in 2010 to 64.8%, while Limpopo's pass rate rose from 57.9% in 2010 to 63.9%.

  • Mike - 2012-01-05 09:20

    What is the point - quality of matric has dropped continuously over the last 17 years. Pupils feeling empowered - to what; has any job creation been done? You may as well hang those certificates up your toilet; except of course you are lucky enough to have ANC connections and get a job in the public sector! I have received CV's in the last week on my desk where between 30 - 50 spelling errors were made in the covering letter alone - and some from English natives. Education in SA - FAIL!

      Ryan - 2012-01-05 09:50

      hey our president has got a Standard 3 education. it proves to the young people that one can still go right to the top with no education. haha. Only in South Africa

  • Leon - 2012-01-05 09:20

    The pres likes his shower. - 2012-01-05 14:25

      No matter how bad Eastern Cape has done. I will be proud I was one of the few best in my year.

  • Lwads - 2012-01-05 09:25

    "The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) believed the pass rate was visible proof that the ANC was prioritising education". I wonder how true is that?

      Mike - 2012-01-05 13:58

      They have forgotten that the schools were closed for a month last year for the world cup. Another few weeks were lost for strike action. I am amazed that the pass-rate has not increased by 15% or more.

  • Aaron - 2012-01-05 09:27

    Please would the media and government stop referring to these figures as the "pass rate". In any convention, a "pass rate" should refer only to those who actually achieved more than 50%. What they are actually referring to here, is the 30% threshold required to receive a certificate. Besides which, the results are "adjusted" by Umalusi to get to whatever level they want. Utterly meaningless. The true "pass rate" as it would be understood everywhere else in the world is probably closer to 20%. These figures are a national embarrassment. So much time and money is wasted by keeping people in school who really shouldn't be there beyond primary school where an attempt can be made to teach the basics of reading and writing, after which there is absolutely no point at all.

  • Clementine - 2012-01-05 09:31

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees this as an area of sour grapes on my part, but I fail to see how passing matric with less than 40% equips you for further study, it does get u out of the "system" though and makes the books look good, but reality is you cannot study further and then end up not getting a job after all #SMH#

      Adam - 2012-01-05 16:50

      I matriculated in the mid 80’s from a very prominent school in SA. Sadly, I was left “behind” in maths in junior school and never managed to catch up even after failing a year. I made sure I passed the remaining 5 subjects (languages, science and biology included) with good marks. By the time I wrote final exams I don’t know why I bothered to write any maths exams. Needless to say I got a G symbol in standard grade, that’s less than 30% I believe. By the mid 90’s, I was an independent finance broker and snapped up by a US Company in 2001 as a Finance and Insurance Manager and excelled from there. Moral of the story, if you apply yourself, it can be done. To the maths teachers, don’t let a kid move on if they do not grasp the level of math within a Grade. Try use better math teachers for those that are slow at math instead of the dof ones teaching the dof kids.

  • Piet - 2012-01-05 09:36

    With a pass rate of 30%. Eish imagine going to a doctor who only knows 30%!!!

      Xavier7034 - 2012-01-05 09:43

      Or even an electrician, fitter, millwright, plumber......

      Heinrich - 2012-01-05 10:03

      or a teacher

      Morakane - 2012-01-05 10:12

      It begs the question, what is the future for these kids? They cant study further, nothing. Graduates are having a hard time as it is, what more a matric student with just a 30% pass? The future seems bleak :o(

      Juan - 2012-01-05 10:14

      Or even a top job in the ANC.... Well that's pretty easy to imagine

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-05 09:38

    In the 80's a Matric certificate would get you permanent residence status in almost any country in the world, today its not worth the paper used to print it on locally or abroad. Fully qualified para-medics are even required to undergo an extra years training overseas before they are allowed to work now. A 100% pass mark wouldn't even be something to brag about in this country anymore, face facts 100% or nothing is still nothing.

  • Ryan - 2012-01-05 09:46

    I think if I had to rewrite matric I'd get a 100 % today. lol. good old ANC

  • brad.norval - 2012-01-05 09:47

    The kids are not getting smarter. The system is getting dumber!

      Gregory Jurgens - 2012-01-06 11:22

      Bravo !!

  • jordaanjean - 2012-01-05 09:49

    It would be interesting to see how these pupils perform when writing the same exams from 2000 ? Would the pass rate be the same. Like the ANC motto goes. If we can not achieve what we need to just lower the bar and make it easier.

      RSole - 2012-01-05 10:38

      @Jean. Sad but true

      Jan - 2012-01-05 14:11

      None of them will pass. I was a teacher and I left bcos of the standard of Education.

  • Sharkshoot - 2012-01-05 09:49

    Making the papers easier is just giving a whole new breed of kids false hope for when they go out into the real world. They will be shown up when they start work and can barely write an email or add. Oh wait I could have been talking about any one of the BEE affirmative appointees filling up a chair at EISHKOM right now....maybe in this country being half illiterate is an advantage...

  • Vicky - 2012-01-05 09:53

    The results are, once again, disgraceful, and the ministers should be ashamed of themselves. How can they be so smug when nearly 30% of students did not achieve a pass (dumbed down as that is). However, with such an ignorant and inept government, lead by a totally idiotic president, what else can we expect?

  • Fenderbender - 2012-01-05 10:02

    Unfortunately for the majority of the students this news will mean little as to whether the weak syllabus and standards have in fact prepared them for the next step towards a career. Passing matric is only the first step, and soon they will be aware that their matric means little as a qualification is earned with hard work, self discipline, and dedication which cant be obtained from a failing educational system and cooked standards. It is not me being negative its me being realistic, go work abroad and find out what is real competition, where your past and skin color has no currency. And for SA, well job creation it definitely not a priority for the anc.

  • Karen - 2012-01-05 10:03

    Well done matrics!!! My concern however is how many children out there are not attending school and how many of them will become a burden to these matrics that have done so well, in the not too distant future.

  • Vuyo - 2012-01-05 10:04

    I see capitalism in action here. What everyone seems to be missing here is that an impression is being created that to pass you need lots of money , hence go to model c schools and pay lots!!!!! of moneys .Thomas Edison was taught by his mother at home and achieved what very few of educated people could do in their lifetime. Public school education is but of very little use in the real world , so why must people pay so much for it . Most of the successful people in the world didn't have exceptional education . School creates workers and we all know employment is a form of slavery , ask COSATU . None of these great matriculants talk of opening their companies , instead we here of them going to university to become great employees , WAKE UP SA .

      Michelle Kirsten - 2012-01-05 15:10

      Ok so if employment is slavery then the humane thing to do would be emancipating all slaves and not try to teach anyone anything that could possibly lead to slavery? We have enough emancipated people at intersections already, lucky free people...

  • Gavin - 2012-01-05 10:04

    Wow this is excellent, the government has done such a fantastic job, soon the pass rate will be 0% and we'll have a 100% pass rate !! What a load of BS. - 2012-01-05 14:29

      "soon the pass rate will be 0%" did u perhaps mean the pass mark will be 0% then 100% pass rate?

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-05 10:12

    Education is one of the areas which should totally be depoliticized. Political inputs into education just tend to pollute and deface the efforts of educators. A true educator will give you 0% if it is deserved. How else are you going to learn if you don't learn the things you don't know? How can you feel the glow of achievement if it isn't deserved?

  • SeeVeeDeeEl - 2012-01-05 10:17

    No question the results are manipulated to make the government look good.

  • SARealist - 2012-01-05 10:19

    As long as there are "AJDUSTMENTS" made both up and or downwards then the percentages quoted by the ANC Government are meaningless. Why, because the ANC Government decides it wants an improvement of 5%. So whatever the real percentages achieved are then adjusted upwards or downwards and the regime states that the target has been reached. WHAT A DAMN JOKE - and the people actually believe this crap?

  • nickiv - 2012-01-05 10:21

    a pass in matric if i'm not mistaken is: 40% home language, 40% for two other subjects and 30% for the remaining three subjects. thats means that in order to pass matric,one simply needs to obtain an average of 35%... no wonder there is a high first year drop out

  • nikkiduku - 2012-01-05 10:22

    I can't wait to see their first year university results at the end of 2012!!!

  • Gerda - 2012-01-05 10:23

    A higher passing rate means less learning and more 'task' scrapbooking. The students are experts in copy and paste. So if the passing rate is 35% and many of them just made it what went wrong? Not enough glue on the pictures? Students are as much frustrated of not being able to learn enough. Their chances of getting work abroad are 0% because of SA education not being recognized. I would suggest establishing more private schools with internationally recognized subjects and excellent teachers.

  • Paul - 2012-01-05 10:56

    It is now the time that Universities have their own entry examinations. For example, if you want to study BComm Accounting you should write the University's Matric exam in the subjects Accounting and Mathematics. If you want to study Medicine, you should write the University's Matric in Biology, Nat Science and Mathematics. If you want to study Actuarial Science you should write University's Matric in Mathematics. Too many students with distinctions in current Mathematics for example fail University subjects!

      Bert - 2012-01-05 14:32


      sandie.vahl - 2012-01-07 12:33

      UCT has an entrance exam for Maths and Language that you have to0 write even if you got 5 or 6 As for matric.

  • Kacee - 2012-01-05 11:15

    Nkulekweni, what you are saying is somewhat true, unfortunately it saddens most people seeing the current government blowing valued tax money on things that don't benefit the truly disadvantaged. It just seems so many more people would be better off if things were done properly.

  • Ryan - 2012-01-05 11:21

    "Concern" is an understatement... Quantity (pass rate) and quality (standard of education) are not the same. A "step in the right direction" is not through increasing the pass rate by lowering the quality of education in the hope that more people will pass. A step in the right direction would be to maintain a high standard of education with an effective delivery of this education. Since being in office, Zuma's administration has to date contributed to R 4.4 billion of wasteful expenditure. What effect would this amount of capital have had on our educational system I wonder? Is a higher matric pass rate really a step in the right direction? A matric pass rate does not qualify a good education system. They are two different measurements.

  • Karin - 2012-01-05 11:46

    I would like to see the results per school and also the percentages achieved in these schools. That would be a truer indication of how the matrics fared.

  • Arnold - 2012-01-05 11:48

    Way to go Eastern Cape!!!friggen last and in reverse

  • Trevor - 2012-01-05 11:50

    Parents should take back responsibility for their kids education,those kids will have a DISTINCT advantage in the future, leaving it to the ANC will be the WORST investment you could make as they have proven to only worry about staying in power to keep on stealing from all of us. Think I'm wrong,goto the R400MILLION party the ANC is throwing...

      Adam - 2012-01-05 17:15

      Recently, I attended a global conference in Las Vegas held by a multi billion dollar company known to just about every household in the world. More than 1 500 people attended from over 100 countries from nearly 900 companies globally. Hotel costs paid, the most amazing food imaginable and world class entertainment that would boggle the average persons mind. It was a 3 day affair. The cost, somewhere around $28 million dollars. The ANC’s party, around $53 million dollars, (R400M) before overages. And that’s not being held in Vegas so all I can say is, its gotta be one hell of a party, especially seeing the ANC are not a global leaders with net profits into the billions of dollars.

  • pat.gilliat - 2012-01-05 12:28

    Making the examinations easier so that the results have improved over the past few years is ludicrous. It is not helping anybody. The government are fooling themselves and the matric certificate is becoming a joke.

  • TamaraSays - 2012-01-05 12:50

    The 'logic' is simple - if not enough people are passing, drop the standards. That's the ANC way. Idjits.

  • garryf - 2012-01-05 14:06

    A 30% pass rate per subject is rediculous, any idiot will do that witth ease. Our National Higher Certificate is not worth the paper it is wriiten on, and will receive no recognition from any overseas institution of learning. We have the ANC to thank for this, they have done the children of SA a complete injustice, but then when does the ANC not screw up, the make a mess of everything they touch.

  • Bert - 2012-01-05 14:27

    If every child of matriculate age was allowed to take his examinations without first being vetted in Grade 8 to see if they would be successful. Then the average pass figure may be a little lower. Children in some schools, Benoni High being one, vet the childs ability in their work in Grade 8, especially in the subjects of Science and Maths. If they fail in Grade 8, they are not allowed to pursue these subjects for matriculation purposes. Benoni High have this banner outside the school year after year, '100% Matriculation Pass for the*&%th successive year" OF COURSE THEY DO!!!!

  • Nkulekweni - 2012-01-05 15:05

    Amanda Whereto I was not going to respond because I agree with you...but hell why not. Yeah..I guess its not so much the critism that black people object to...the majority of black people in this forum seem to me to also be expressing their frustration with the present government. What black people object to is the racism that the critism of this government is often laced with. Spyker May could have just written ..nationalist government without bringing race into it. This is especially pertinent given the fact that this government is made up of ministers of all races. But I hear you...I just hope that an increasing number of people on this forum learn to critisise without resorting to racism. Racism and corruption are the twin evils that will kill this country.

      Peter - 2012-01-05 15:46


  • Wouter - 2012-01-05 16:58

    To obtain a pass, a pupil must achieve 40% in his or her home language as well as 40% in two other subjects and three subjects at 30%.

  • Lesley - 2012-01-05 19:26

    It is all very weel getting more pupils qualifying to go to university but what sort of degrees are they qualifying for - BA degeees? which are absolutrly useless.

  • Michelle Kirsten - 2012-01-05 20:17

    I wonder if anyone sees the lowering of standards as patronizing? I am sad that our own govt seems to think it's future citizens are not capable of more? If the kids in my class are anything to go by, tell them they need 30% to pass they will do the minimum.. Not cause of their colour, background or wealth but because they are KIDS and want to do anything but study. Guess what, I told them my pass rate is 50% and that's what they work toward. Can govt not stop expecting failure and lowering the bar? There are wonderfully talented kids who will jump at a good challenge, stop underestimating our youth and start expecting them to excell

      Heinrich - 2012-01-05 20:42

      Spot on, Michelle. How would an athlete feel if his coach lies to him about his performance? It is insulting. If there is something for the youth to march for, it is unadulterated education. Economic freedom will flow from this.

  • Eduard - 2012-01-06 05:55

    the sad part is...the previous government made the mistake that they did not look into the crystal ball and educate the masses. this government is not doing much better either....we fail to produce quality, only produce quantity. We need to find the balance and produce both and rather sooner than later. time is ticking. Spend money on education, by getting quality teachers(of all colours, shapes and sizes) and pay them well, in return, they will produce a better student that is a win/ win for SA. Let SA compare themselves with the best in the world (benchmark), seeing we are in a "global phase".

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