Automatic progression to matric unsustainable - Colditz

2016-01-06 12:14

Cape Town – Automatically progressing pupils, who failed Grade 11 twice, to matric is not sustainable, Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools CEO Paul Colditz said on Wednesday.

"The best practice is to identify the individual learner that is struggling or has experienced some form of traumatic experience and to assist them through special measures," he said.

"You can’t call it a strategy if you progress automatically, and then say you have supported learners."

Colditz was reacting to the release of the 2015 matric results, which showed a drop in the national pass rate to 70.7%, from 75.8% in 2014.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday revealed that they had seen the largest number of so-called progressed pupils since the policy was promulgated in 2013. These pupils were promoted without meeting the pass criteria.

They pulled down the matric pass rate, but Motshekga said they were not the only reason for the decrease.

A total of 65 671 pupils were progressed. Of that number, 22 000 passed. They got 3297 Bachelor's passes, 8463 passes for a diploma, and 10 000 met national certificate requirements. There were 1081 distinctions.

On Tuesday, Motshekga justified the policy by saying that those Grade 11 pupils would have dropped out of the system anyway after having failed twice, so "let's give them a chance". 

Colditz said he did not expect that 37.6% of the progressed students would pass. He said they may have overcome personal circumstances, such as divorce in the family or loss of a parent. Some may have received a "wake-up call" and grabbed the opportunity to work harder with both hands.

"The other side of the coin is the 63% which did not pass. If they had been held back in Grade 11 and had been given proper and better foundations before going to matric, that pass rate might have been 80% or 90%."

Motshekga said her department would conduct a more detailed analysis on the effects that progressed pupils had on the overall matric results.

"We have learned a lot from this exercise and working with provinces, we will continue to strengthen and provide support for progressed learners."

For these pupils, the department planned to strengthen its psycho-social services and remedial work, screening and testing for various needs.

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