SA education standards too low - Oprah

2012-01-16 10:08

Johannesburg - The standard of school education in South Africa is too low, US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey said at the graduation ceremony of her Leadership Academy for Girls at Henley-on-Klip over the weekend.

She was answering a question on how South Africa can learn from the success of her school.

Winfrey on Saturday congratulated the school's first matric class on their 100% pass rate and 188 distinctions.

More than half of the school’s 72 matriculants had an average of more than 75%.

All of the pupils plan to continue studying this year, at universities in South Africa and the US.

“It is the beginning of the end of poverty,” said Winfrey, referring to the matriculants who received their diplomas on Saturday.

“The girls have broken the circle of poverty in their homes and from here on they can give back to the community.”


Winfrey emphasised that South Africa had to invest in leadership so that rewards could be reaped later, especially in poor communities.

The school’s success was due to good, knowledgeable teachers and to girls who were not pampered because they came from difficult backgrounds, said Winfrey.

“I have found that people underestimate disadvantaged children and therefore lower standards.

“It is also indicative of your standards here that you can pass with 30%. Businesspeople can’t operate successfully if they function with only 30% to 40%.

“We haven’t allowed the girls to use their backgrounds as an excuse. Education is the door to freedom.”

Graça Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife and a member of the school board, was the main speaker at the event.

“Remember always that where you were born does not dictate what will become of you,” she told the class.

"But know too that privileges like you had are one side of the coin. The other side is the responsibility to make a difference.”

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-01-16 10:27

    Agreed. No sarcasm required 8)

      richard.hipkin - 2012-01-16 16:07

      @Wayne, don't be a twat..

      Spyker - 2012-01-16 16:53

      Oprah Winfrey did not need Affirmative Action [AA] to get to where she is today. Neither did Barack Obama, Beyoncé Knowles, Angela Bassett, Michael Jordan, Halle Berry, Spike Lee, Vanessa Williams, the Williams Sisters, Condalisa Rice, Colin Powell, Frederick Douglass, Micheal Jordan and many, many others alike. The reason for the pathetic state of SA's post '94 education system can be found in ONE source - AA. The are some universally (ie globally) accepted consequences of AA, eg: - Leads to reverse discrimination. - Lowers standards of accountability needed to push students or employees to perform better. - It removes the challenges required to equip people to be successful in real life. - Students admitted on this basis are most often ill-equipped to handle the schools to which they've been admitted (specifically tertiary institutions). - It fuels polarisation instead of a making a society more cohesive. - It is condescending to the group itself who needed AA to succeed. - It demeans true achievement; i.e. success is labelled as result of AA rather than hard work and ability. - Once enacted, AA is tough to remove, even after the underlying discrimination has been eliminated. What makes SA worse, is that it practices a special brand of AA - the aim here is not to uplift blacks (as is the case at the Leadership Academy for Girls), is serves solely to oppress a white minority. In fact, SA's brand of AA is the single biggest threat, to the future of SA.

      GrootWitHaai - 2012-01-16 17:09

      That's Oprah's Pointblank opinion for all to see and think about. Read it and weep pilgrim.

      Newsreader - 2012-01-16 19:30

      Spyker! I cant believe you forgot Snoop Dog!!

      John - 2012-01-16 20:28

      “It is the beginning of the end of poverty,” Dear Oprah, No So. You see, the Malcom X broters here in the ANC, are busy destroying the country, NO JOBS! ANC, Association of National Criminals, Abortion Murder Genocide. Destroying South Africa since 1957!

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-01-16 22:23

      At least it came from someone"of colour". If us whiteys had said the same thing, we would have been told we are racist etc etc. We are not allowed to tell the truth.

      hannesenbrianda - 2012-01-17 04:52

      If the majority of SA students cannot complete Year 12 and an extremely low percentage if compared to international norms manage to pass Year 12, then it must surely be obvious that the education standard are still too high for the majority? The education boffins need to realise that SA school system needs an overall. With such big differences in the potential of student (due to sosio-economic background or poor teaching etc) a one for all system is clearly inappropriate. The school system should rather cater for these huge differences, so that every students can be educated in accordance to their potential and thereby complete at least 10-12 years of education. In Austalian schools they use "streaming" where the curriculum is presented at a different pace to different classes (there are up to four streams in the same school). This allow classes that have better students to move faster and cover more material (and be tested on it) while students that struggle only complete as much of the curriculum that they can absorb. Even a poor education is surely better than none!

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 10:56

      @ John - what are you on about with your "ANC, Association of National Criminals, Abortion Murder Genocide.Destroying South Africa since 1957!"? Abortion murder genocide? Since 1957? Man, you need an education.

  • brendan.beech - 2012-01-16 10:30

    why do we need oprah winfrey to tell us that our education system is a bunch of bollocks? we already know, oprah!

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-01-16 10:33

      the more the merrier brendan.

      Willie - 2012-01-16 11:01

      The question is what are we doing about it as parents,forget the goverment ,it clear that anything that's been run by goverment is bound to have problems

      Vaaldonkie - 2012-01-16 11:08

      Because she was very vocal during the "struggle". If she can criticise the ANC, maybe some other people will be convinced that their favourite "freedom fighters" aren't quite as holy as they think.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-16 11:37

      The reason it is so low is because there are too many children in the system with no hope of getting any higher than 30%. If you fail them, next years class will be 50% bigger, the year after... Do you want your kid in class with 25 year olds? The only way is to start at foundation level and raise the bar year after year.

      carpejugulim - 2012-01-16 13:42

      Brendan with any luck, because the statement has come from a non South African, perhaps the govt will actually take notice and start listening to what has been said about the dreadful state of education

      Dank - 2012-01-16 15:11

      @Rikesh.Ishwarlall, in the case of SA it's F = for the win

      Chrono - 2012-01-16 15:51

      Because Oprah is an international figure held in high esteem, unlike anyone else in education in SA.

      Mathilda - 2012-01-16 16:58

      @brendan.beech: Oprah can tell South Africans that 30% required to pass is ridiculously low, because in America 75% won't even get you a pass in any school subject. So, she can comment on the subject because she has seen both sides.

  • spartanx93 - 2012-01-16 10:32

    30% for 70% of the population to pass.... what a fail this ANC has become.

      Kala - 2012-01-16 10:49

      Mpho - How is lowering the standard of education an attempt to "correct things." The last I checked, the ANC were the Government and thus the decision makers in the quality of schools and education. Sure there are more matrics passing, but the level of their education is absolutely dismal.

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-01-16 11:09

      Mpho, are you even aware of the farce regarding the ANC and the lack of text books in Limpopo? Put the blame where the blame belongs, or things will never be resolved.

      petrakzn - 2012-01-16 11:11 can only be laid at the door of the ANC.....THEY have the majority vote to run the country. Maybe they want the majority to be uneducated to remain in power, ever thought of that? People in the know will want to change whats happening to our education but if they remain uneducated how on earth will they know if they dont even know they dont know? Maybe only if they cant get jobs as was shown before......loot and burn the very places that can teach them. EISH!!!!!

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-01-16 11:15

      This country has been going backwards since the ANC came into power in 1994. I had such high hopes that things would improve, but all that has happened is greedy politicians with their snouts in the feeding trough all the time. Unfortunately the 30% ters are too stupid to see what is happening.

      Gerhard - 2012-01-16 11:15

      @Mpho. Please explain to us how this is not an ANC thing? The government that is responsible for the education was mostly (62%) elected by ANC members. The education department is employed by the ANC government. The education department is responsible for the lowering of the education standards in order to have a higher number of "students" pass. Once again, please explain how this is not an ANC thing. Deny, deny, deny!!!!! Yoh, Yoh, Yoh. FOOL!

      spartanx93 - 2012-01-16 11:28

      @Mpho - for a man who has apparently studied at UCT.... You are really ignorant!

      Myvision - 2012-01-16 11:44

      The problem is far deeper than this, there is still a huge gap in our education system that will take govt another 2 decades to resolve. You can simply resolve it by pointing a finger the ANC or get the facts and see that the problem is far too big and come up with alternative solutions.

      Sanet Oelofse - 2012-01-16 11:49

      Mpho, you said "One day is One day", would that be when Jesus comes again? That is how long the ANC plans on governing or lets say "ungovern" this beautiful country, right?

      Sanet Oelofse - 2012-01-16 11:49

      Mpho, you said "One day is One day", would that be when Jesus comes again? That is how long the ANC plans on governing or lets say "ungovern" this beautiful country, right?

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-01-16 12:24

      @Mpho. The government of the day always gets blamed for when systems and management are not good. In this case the current government is the same that change the systems for the worst and not for the better, as you claim they do. Currently the government's decision maker and route indicator is the ANC. Don't be blind for mistakes because if you are you will never be able to correct them. O..yes, the "one day" thing shows a mentality of not want to recognize the problem and rather looking for alternatives to make it goes away. Surprise!!! It will still be there if not addressed.

      Myvision - 2012-01-16 12:59

      @ DuToitCoetzee Though I agree that the govt should take responsibility but we need to remember that before 1994 the homelands still had Bantu education and they needed to be intergrated into the SA education system. However challenges there were serious challenges such as infrastructure(classrooms, laboratories, roads to schools, electricity at schools, water) which made the intergration process difficult. Even to this day there are still learners under trees and schools that do not have labs and to ask those kids to get 50% is not possible. Training is also a challenge as most teachers in under-priviledged areas cannot even pass the same matric exams that theirpupils are writing. Lastly, the education sector needs to be de-unionised and most of these challenges do not lie with Luthuli house alone.

      Mike - 2012-01-16 13:23

      @Myancmyfuture: If the billions spent on unneccesary luxuries (parties, vehicles, hotels, tenders, etc.) were allocated to education and infra-structure, students would not sit under trees and have proper eduction!!

      spartanx93 - 2012-01-16 13:31

      @Myancmyfuture - Learn to spell first before you try to insult me.

      Myvision - 2012-01-16 13:41

      @ Mike, I agree fully that money can go a long way, but to suggest that its only ANC aligned people who work in govt will be plain denialism. @ Spartanx, I didn't insult you I was just responding to your post which you addressed to me.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-01-16 13:50

      @Myancmyfuture. Glad to see you get active again on the site. My comment was addressed to Mpho, that disappeared. I agree with you more on most. We should have concentrate on those issues before we spend millions and millions of rand to change a system, millions of rand to try to make it work, when it clearly failed and millions of rand to cover our backs because we do not want to look if we are guilty of failure. We should have widen the system to other, keeping it on the same standard and stop doing deals in other departments that now start looking like "shaky" deals. Education does solve a lot if not most problems in a country. We closed most colleges or intergrade/make them smaller, but we want to educate more people? The fact stays that the ANC was and is the government of the day and they did not widen it, but tried to change it to temporary please people. Now the problems are still there and the results add to it. You do not bring something down to accommodate other. You uplift other to the same level. I believe the unions became bigger than the employer and fully agree with you that it is one of the mayor causes/headaches for the government. We will need a governing party that will make choices knowing that he will loose votes, but doing the right thing. To do that you need a statesman in the lead, but we don't have. We can rather call ours gatherers. ANC has the votes to take the change, but internal power struggles and money hungry will always rule.

      Mike - 2012-01-16 13:57

      @Myancmyfuture: Agreed, but they have the majority vote and should therefore lead by example i.s.o. lining their own pockets?? Look at the POI bill, they all approved and what is the rest going to do???

      Myvision - 2012-01-16 15:57

      @ DutoitCoetzee As the saying goes " You don't strengthen the weak by weakening the strong" Yes the standards should have been kept and improvements done to underpriviledged schools to fast track them to a level where they may compete with the rest of the country. Improvements have been made and most rural schools have improving conditions but bear in mind that in '94 we had a very small perc of world class schools (approx 5%) and the rest at none existing std's and there was a huge influx to those schools to unacceptable levels and admission was even being politicised and to make it fair the bar had to be lowered to accommodate all. I can't deny that if we knwew then what we know now maybe a few things could have been handled differently. Unfortunately as long as children of union leaders continue to study to none SADTU schools, the education system will forever be taken backwards by these criminal elements

      Sean - 2012-01-16 20:40

      @Myancmyfuture- You right the problem is deep inside , feeling f@cken sorry for yourself and blaming apartheid !! Do you realy think the ANC governmnet wants the masses to be educated ?? FFS , Think !!1

  • Hendrick - 2012-01-16 10:37

    the shack is not the problem, but the shack of the mind is

      Peter - 2012-01-16 10:42

      thats very deep...and very true

      petrakzn - 2012-01-16 11:06

      Hendrick I applaud you! Well said, most things in life changes only with the right mindset.

      Piston - 2012-01-16 11:12

      Well said.

      Jason - 2012-01-16 16:25

      Bliksem - what a brilliant and insightful comment! My hope is that basic education (regardless of the pass-mark) will start changing that mindset and get people to believe that they can break the spiral of poverty.

      Fanie - 2012-01-16 16:35

      Goed gestel

      Fanie - 2012-01-16 16:36

      It is just sad that the anc keep rebuilding the shack of the mind before every election

  • Arthur - 2012-01-16 10:40

    But it ain't as low as it is gonna go, ma'am...

      petrakzn - 2012-01-16 11:03

      Only if you say so ......please be a bit more positive, you might gain from that attitude too.

      Sean - 2012-01-16 20:42

      @petrakzn - He is not negative , just realistic !

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-01-16 10:41

    Good call Oprah! Standards in SA are low enough, this country is way too PC to call a spade a spade

  • Mpho - 2012-01-16 10:45

    Thanks to Oprah ! we are all learning from things like this at the end of the day.....One step at a Time - we will get there

      Sharon - 2012-01-16 10:57

      So Mr. Mpho this is all you've learned since 1995, one step at a time indeed, you're implying Mr. Mpho that you and your type cannot deal with change quickly and that it'll take forever to raise the standard of local "educashun" to that of other first world countries. Yes, by all means decrease the standard to the point that any diploma or education attained in South Africa is worthless in the international arena, step at a time, some of you folk are only coming to terms with fire in this 21st century, (one step at a time), science and maths, pah, that's not necessary, "eish" just attend school and you get a certificate.

      Anso - 2012-01-16 12:09

      We were "there". Pass rate WAS higher...

      Zion - 2012-01-16 12:48

      One outcome, Hey that was a lekker word, is that soon we will have a nation of moron matriculants all looking for jobs with matric as a requirement.

      Rob - 2012-01-16 14:27

      Hey Mpho, if you are going to wait for the likes of Oprah to tell you what needs to be done not only will it take a long time you will also allienate the remaining few....those that have not yet seen SA as a lost cause. Better wake up soon or we may all get what the ANC wished for!!!!

      Sean - 2012-01-16 20:44

      @Mpho- Sorry mate , ``we`ll`` never get there !! How can you get there if you take one step forward and then 10 backwards ?

      Merven - 2012-01-17 12:27

      Mpho, the problem is, with every step on the way that is passed, there is a whole generation left with sh*t education, sitting jobless and bitter with crime as an easy scapegoat.

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 11:03

      @ Sharon - your derogatory racist remarks are uncalled for. If you had any education in and knowledge of anthropology, you would actually know that 17 years is a damn short time to change a whole cultural way of thinking. You could have made your point, as the other commentators below you did, without being insulting.

  • Hannetjie - 2012-01-16 10:45

    Yes, but they were all given the privilege of studying in privileged environments - small classes, all the facilities they need, good teachers, etc. - not what your average Sa school child has!!! and oprah is jkust saying what we all know - our teaching standards miles too low!!!!!

      Janneman27 - 2012-01-17 09:39

      Well, we pay masses and masses of tax to the government...they're supposed to use that money to improve public schools and education...meanwhile, they spend it on new, flashy cars and massive birthday bashes...and who votes for them? The people who don't get the education they deserve...that's Dictatorship 101: keep the people dumb and hand them (false) promises just before elections.

  • NecroButcher - 2012-01-16 10:48

    Our standard of education is pathetic actually. In order to pass matric a person only needs to know LESS than a third of their work - Scary.

  • Zimbobwe - 2012-01-16 10:50

    @justin.pretorius "Good call Oprah! Standards in SA are low enough, this country is way too PC to call a spade a spade" ... So true my brother and when Malema calls a spade a spade people get worked up. From the comments above no one said any positive thing about this girls achievement always moaning about ANC.

      Henk - 2012-01-16 12:28

      @Zimbobwe - Are you suggesting they deserve praise for passing these low standards? As for Malema, he never calls a spade a spade. You, wearing your blinkers may think so, but he is telling lies as far as he goes. But let's not drag that idiot into matters of education.

      Rob - 2012-01-16 14:38

      Zimbobwe: I cannot speak for anyone else but I for one would rather be complaining about the weather than what the ANC has or has not done. The problem is that for any one item in favour of the ANC I am overwhelmed with an avalanche of negatives. Why is that?

  • TheSlip - 2012-01-16 10:50

    It works kinda like upping the minimum weight requirement to be classified as obese, eh Oprah?

      Ally - 2012-01-16 16:59

      That's telling her!

  • Ian - 2012-01-16 10:50

    did someone mention to madam that the pass rate in private schools is 65 % upwards, that 30% is all the local morons doing madam, this year it will be 20% and they will still fail

  • cj.venter - 2012-01-16 10:52

    i believe a matric of today is equivalent to a std 6 in the old days

  • andrewdelange - 2012-01-16 10:55

    One day you will recieve a matric diploma just for being there to take the test...any points you score on the test itself will count as a distinction...VIVA SOUTH AFRICA VIVA!!

      Sean - 2012-01-16 20:45

      100% Pass rate , lol !! You see the government is doing well , nooooooooooot !!!

  • petrakzn - 2012-01-16 10:58

    Thank you Oprah Winfrey for showing what these kids could do for themselves with just a little help.........Now I hope that Jacob Zuma and others would wake up to the fact that the struggle of the ANC is long over but the struggle of the people that came after the liberation, who will one day build on what you are doing now is sitting in poverty without the prospects of getting jobs. OUR CHILDREN NEEDS YOU TO WAKE UP AND DO WHAT OPRAH WINFREY HAS DONE. Use the millions from the lottery and billions from the toll fees that NEVER reach ground level.

      Arthur - 2012-01-16 11:27

      Petra, you suggested I be a bit more positive... your comments not exactly dripping with positivity!

  • Keith - 2012-01-16 11:01

    I hope we don't follow the American system and not bother to have exams. They pass on their work during the year. Thanks Oprah for the wonderful work you do here and elsewhere in the world.

      Karen - 2012-01-16 11:39

      Keith - I homeschool my children mostly on the American system. They most definitely DO have to pass exams and I can promise you they are NOT easy. Please check your sources.

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 11:07

      @ Karen - sorry to say but the American public education system is one of the worst in the western world. Kids pass their school careers in the US that can barely read and write. Perhaps you should check up a bit, read a few articles, watch a few programmes, that discuss the crisis in the American public school system. Truth be told, education world-wide has taken a nose-dive. We in SA just dove a bit deeper than most.

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 11:08

      And to add - if the US school system is so great and difficult, why can only 34% of Americans even find their own country on a world map, to give you an example.

  • Steve - 2012-01-16 11:01

    All you need is 13% to get a government tender. Educayshin duzzint pay.

  • Dave - 2012-01-16 11:02

    The only way to improve the pass rate is to reduce the pass mark - african logic - what's your problem. At least the pass mark is still in double figures.

  • John - 2012-01-16 11:03

    How can 30% be a pass mark......its not a pass mark anywhere else in the world its a joke.....

      spartanx93 - 2012-01-16 11:22

      They probably get 20% already for spelling their name correctly on the exam paper.

      Myvision - 2012-01-16 11:59

      You must also take note that the 30% pass means the child must go to an FET college to improve the symbols and is not a university or technikon admission

      Mike - 2012-01-16 13:43

      @Myancmyfuture: R200 and you can get into any institution!

      riaz.moola - 2012-01-18 11:05

      It's the exam pass mark at many overseas universities..

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 11:11

      @ Mike - bullshyte! Plain and simple. @ Myancmyfuture - that is the whole point, more children should only attend school for 10 years [i.e. finish grade 10] and then go to skill-orientated colleges. And yes, you are quite correct about the FET colleges. Most universities also have admission exams now [even if you do have matric exemption], and if you fail it you have to do a basic education module before you can enroll.

  • roodbol - 2012-01-16 11:04

    There you have it: Oprah is allowed to call the 'pass rate' what it is [a no-pass in other countries], but SA citizens are blamed for their negativity should we dare to make a comment! No wonder these guys cannot find jobs [if they do, they expect a good pay!], obtain diplomas and quit universities within the first semester [according to varsity and college tutors]. Even those who qualify to study at a university are used to such a low pass grade they don't know how to work once in the real world. With a 30% 'pass', who needs school anyway?! Also time they test ALL the teachers who don't care to miss classes or sit outside while the pupils [inside] await their return [saw with my own eyes].

  • makomichi - 2012-01-16 11:04

    Poor standards for sure.It should be difficult to go to University,the number should be very low than what i was seeing at UJ,poor standards for sure.You cant hear that in USA,UK,Zim,because they only admit the best students not everyone.We are making our country poor because we are graduating everyone,even the ones who dont deserve it.

      Sterling - 2012-01-17 05:25

      In the US if one makes seventy on the exam one will not be accepted in most Universities. If one doesn't make seventy on the civil services tests, one will find it hard to get a civil services job.

      Lanfear - 2012-01-18 11:12

      Yes Sterling - yet in the US you can do unskilled labour and still make a decent living.

  • Christine - 2012-01-16 11:07

    I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I agree with Oprah. Well done that someone has actually said this out loud

  • Mkhululi - 2012-01-16 11:08

    First and foremost, Thanks Oprah for showing our government how things are done, those of you that dont know there is a school in Midrand called African Union International School which in my opnion suppose to be assisting African kids. In short what Im trying to say is this is a good school but very expensive and as it is African Union School they should be looking into improving african education to be accessible to all kids not only for the elite. You can go to their website and see for yourself. Its realy based on the ELITE platform but not on average laymans kid. (

  • Errol - 2012-01-16 11:10

    Sadly,SA standards of most aspects of life way too LOW!!Education been one of them and probably the most important.What's even sadder is the fact,that there are NO JOBS for matriculants in general.Be it you got 70% or 30%!!South Africa will end up with matrics been very frustrated and very angry.The answer..SIMPLY TO EMBRACE CAPITALISM AND CREATE JOBS;INVITE INVESTMENT;ATTRACT INVESTMENT.

  • mbotsellasie - 2012-01-16 11:12

    I was amazed when i first heard that 30% was considered a pass!! Its absolutely ludicrous, explains why we have engineers and doctors who cant even discern the difference between simple words like 'woman' and 'women'!! SA is a sad case when it comes to education!! the government is pushing all the kids through Matric, in an attempt to achieve a ghost pass rate...

  • sdgareth - 2012-01-16 11:12

    finally somebody is being honest about the state of our education and it is not even a South African

  • Jimmy - 2012-01-16 11:16

    Dear Oprah, you sure seem to have a firm grasp of the obvious, now if only our so called leaders can follow suit.

  • Robert - 2012-01-16 11:16

    So is the Government saying that all the blacks are stupida s they can only pass matric with 30%. would you see a doctor who has a 30% pass I dont think so "Businesspeople can’t operate successfully if they function with only 30% to 40%".

  • anthony.swart - 2012-01-16 11:18

    "Winfrey emphasised that South Africa had to invest in leadership so that rewards could be reaped later, especially in poor communities." well with idiots within the ANC quoting that they will rule the country forever then who the hell is gonna lead us forward? Are the ANC leaders or rulers?

  • Karlien - 2012-01-16 11:21

    ...and here we are in beautiful SA, with a whole new kind of "pass" system... sadly ironic.

      Gregory Jurgens - 2012-01-16 11:33

      Nice one. Thumbsup

      Heinrich - 2012-01-16 19:01

      This is the real dompass.

  • Charmain - 2012-01-16 11:24


  • Shirley - 2012-01-16 11:31

    Ms Winfrey this we know! Now convince the government to stop pushing students through classes they cannot manage and start building functional schools where there at least are the correct tools and books to teach correctly! Then convince them that they must get rid of the lazy,un motivated teachers and employ teachers who actualy care about uflifting students and NOT striking every few months! Finally bring back the school inspectors to ensure that children are attending school and not out in the streets up to no good!

      Ziyanda - 2012-01-16 15:37

      thank you for mentioning the "lazy teachers " problem it just pisses me off that the same teachers who dont want to teach have their Kids in private schools and now they killing the dreams and communities of children who are hungry for education but depend on them to actualy make it.

      Shannon - 2012-01-16 23:20

      That's up to South African citizens to insist upon, not Oprah.

      retha.marais - 2012-01-17 12:36

      That's why Oprah replaced her black principal for a white one. White ones don't stike and they are disciplined!

  • Mike - 2012-01-16 11:48

    If you look at it from the other side it even more Scary. You can pass and not know 70% of the work. Can you say you can do your daily job not knowing 70% of what you are doing

  • hosia.modiga - 2012-01-16 11:50

    Haaaaaibooo do you only need 30% to pass matric?

  • Jay - 2012-01-16 11:51

    If white kids are being overlooked for Varsity entrance then why doesn't the white community in SA start a university for white kids only. There are black only business groups, and black only varsities in the States. If we build and fund it and keep it for only the top 3 percent of white matriculates then whats the problem? hahahahahahahahaha now wouldn't that be a can of worms...........

      Ina - 2012-01-16 12:17

      Oooh Jay, now you are opening up a really big can of worms! Wouldn't surprise me a bit if you are going to be tarred and feathered. Whites only?! You will now be branded a bigot and a racist, and goodness knows what not. You know it's ok to have black anything,(chambers, groups, forums etc) but NEVER white anything in this country. Excuse me for sounding bitter, but it happens to be the truth.

      Archie - 2012-01-16 13:10

      only black racialism is allowed ,its called BEE and previously dis,.groups need only apply!

  • Lungiswa - 2012-01-16 11:52

    How can I get contact with Oprah anyone knows this woman is sooo powerfull.

      Nitro - 2012-01-16 11:56

      stupid question

      Kent - 2012-01-16 15:01

      @ Lungiswa. Maybe at: ?????

      GoodFella - 2012-01-16 20:26

      Darling we are talking education here, not beauty tips! Soooo have a nice beauty sleep.

  • Erica - 2012-01-16 12:05

    @Jay, that will never happen and you know it! @All, you guys are going on and on about how baaaaad the state of education is in SA but what are you doing about it? Ranting and raving about it on news24 will not make government to stand up, they probably even aware of this article. If you want change, write, protest, etc to the ministers and stop being so 'intelligent' on cyber space where no one is listening, at least no one that you want to listen!

      Archie - 2012-01-16 13:15

      every day, promote the opposition parties. If each voter recruited one new voter a month ANC would be out.The cities are leaning towards DA we need votes in the rural areas.

  • Ina - 2012-01-16 12:07

    I believe that the equipment of the classes etc in Oprah's school, is state of the art, (some local universities would even be envious of it,) the classes are very small, there were no teacher strikes, or pupil demonstrations, so yes, I suppose it is reasonable to expect a 100% pass rate. Commendable, but hardly surprising. The pupils that did pass in schools where the going was a bit (?) more tough, are the ones that really are deserving of praise. To them : "Well done!"

  • gerhard.schutte2 - 2012-01-16 12:09

    perhaps Peter then every one in the country can have a job and not steal from others to satisfy their drug and drinking needs. Perhaps then crime and murder will be eraticated and we can have a country that can look eastern and western countrys in the eye without bowing our heads in disgrace. mabe if all have an education we woudn't be as ignorant as you are, and rely on the working people to provide for your water and electricity to put food on your table and for government to give you my hard earned money to give to you monthly so you can go party and get drunk. we need people who is able to think and solve problems. (my perception of you is : you are lazy arrogant and ignorant). go get an education put in the hard work and become a participating member of society, you can do it but only if you believe and work hard.

      Peter - 2012-01-16 14:54

      Was that directed at me, Gerhard?

  • Piet - 2012-01-16 12:11


  • Archie - 2012-01-16 12:19

    Well done Oprah,you see what we all have seen,,a communist managed ANC cannot educate people, their tired old cadre teaching from the top down has nothing to do with the new world.They think illogically and that by lowering the standards believe all the problems will go away.In rural RSA girls are still sold to their husbands who pay lobola (tribal slavery?)Husband then owns the girl and does what ever he likes thereafter.BTW 30% is a fail not a pass,most of our leaders all fit into this catagory.Lets become like some successful countries and make politicans qualify for their posts(ie doctorate in education for education minister.Doctor in medicine for health minister and masters degree in economics for President etc)This is the only way forward.After all it your vote and your money put them where it counts!

  • Phumi - 2012-01-16 12:28

    Typical leaders from the West mentality to always look down on Africans. We hope they dont teach our children those values in that school. Government has to relook this thing of having special schools and pet projects like this Oprah Winfrey schools. If Oprah wants to assist she must do it within the confines of our education system to benefit all not a few chosen ones!

      Leon - 2012-01-16 12:44

      phumisi this is now african mentality you stupid twat

      Jonathan Lilo Bitumba - 2012-01-16 13:20

      Phumi you're an idiot.

      Tyron - 2012-01-16 13:32

      Your comment is poor and spells out the problem when mediocrity is the goal. BTW she did it within the confines of our education system as those students studied the SA syllabus and wrote the SA exams! IDIOT!!

      DraganTrenk - 2012-01-16 16:03

      You must STOP SMOKING a WEED!!!

      Cindy - 2012-01-16 16:23

      Phumi all the pupils at the Winfrey academy come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The school is tough on discipline and performance, yes the facilites are top-notch BUT with the best facilites in the world kids who don't apply themselves to their studies will FAIL! I salute these girls and look forward to welcoming about 33.3% of them to Rhodes University where they will get a university education which equips them to become tomorrows SA leaders

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-16 12:39

    Just another example of South Africa's inability to compete nationally or internationally. DUST BOWL STATUS TO FOLLOW SHORTLY

  • Zion - 2012-01-16 12:40

    Interesting and highly informative that the great Oprah saw the implications of the 30% saga. Maybe she should team up with Big Brother Blade and she can convince him that 30% is in actuality a failure rate. Hence the intelligence rate is a falsification too.

  • Siza - 2012-01-16 12:42

    Your child's education cannot be given to some teacher as their responsibility. For your child to achieve good grades it is solely the responsibility of the parent. Until the parents refrain from moaning and groaning when they have to pay school fees, buy school books, pay for their children's education, instead of buying expensive suits and cars for attending church. And stop making their children sick in the gut at the prospect of asking for something towards their education. There will always be the volumious chorus about "the government".

  • ilsewepener - 2012-01-16 12:44

    Noooo.... and we needed Ms Oprah to tell us that our education standards are too low. Thank you Oprah, now we know.

  • Lauren - 2012-01-16 13:11

    Are universities going to be dropping their standards and pass rates, too? Our children should be inspired to learn, grow, and achieve their goals. The 'bare minimum' should not be tolerated. It is up to us to help our children understand how their futures are impacted as a result of their academic achievements and/or abilities in high school and at university. They need to be able to make positive and informed decisions about their futures.

  • Ntombomhlaba - 2012-01-16 13:25

    Here's food for thought-SA Matric pass rates prior to 1994 are as follows: 1993-51.3%, 1992-53%, 1991-49.4%, 1990-46.4%, 1989-51.3%, 1988-63%, 1987-58.6%, 1986-54.3%, 1985-67.2%, 1984-67.8%, 1983-67.5%, 1982-68.8%, 1981-70.7% and in 1980 was 75.2%. Just a thought

      Wayne - 2012-01-16 13:39

      Yes thats because a Matric pass was something to be proud of and a well respected one, today the levels are so much lower so that the Goverment can show higher passing percentages, Just a thought.

      Garth - 2012-01-16 15:14

      Nope, not much thought there ntombomhlaba, not much thought at all.

      Perfume5 - 2012-01-16 15:45

      Did not give your comment any thought whatsoever. I agree with Wayne & Garth

      hannesenbrianda - 2012-01-17 05:06

      Interesting numbers, it clearly shows the impact of the ANC's "transformation before education" campaign. The pass rate dropped from 75% in 1980 to 49% in 1991. I think the ANC now realise how much easier it is to break a system than to fix it? Shooting yourself in the foot comes to mind.

  • Trevor - 2012-01-16 13:37

    atleast someone agrees with me that 30% pass mark at schools is rediculous!!!

  • Wayne - 2012-01-16 13:37

    Dumbing down will not solve any issues in this country,employers should now ask for a Matriculants with a higher pass percentage excluding LO when applying for positions. So that our country can be built for the future with educated minds.

      Kosie - 2012-01-17 12:43

      If you come to me with a matric certificate, it must be above 50% HG on all subjects or i won't even consider you.