Ramaphosa disappoints supporters after applauding Eastern Cape matric results

2017-01-15 19:02
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Denzil Maregele, Netwerk24)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Denzil Maregele, Netwerk24)

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East London - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa caused a stir when he congratulated the Eastern Cape for its 2.5% improvement in the 2016 matric exam results, despite it being the country's worst performing province.

The 2016 Eastern Cape matric class improved the province's pass rate by 2.5 percentage points, from 56.8% in 2015 to 59.3% in 2016.

But it remained the country's worst performing province.

"We wish to congratulate the Eastern Cape for the pass rate we received for 2016... The matrics have really showed improvement, 2.5% improvement is really a great thing. We applaud them," Ramaphosa said on Sunday in front of thousands of ANC supporters at an event in Mthatha to celebrate the party's 105th anniversary.

Ramaphosa added that for the year 2017 he wanted to see a greater improvement in the province's pass rate.

While there had been an improvement, he said it needed to be acknowledged that the province was falling short of its potential.  

Well wishes criticised

He said that the party welcomed the province's leadership which prioritised assistance to struggling schools to develop and maintain school infrastructure and to deal with the shortage of teachers.

"We thank the province for doing precisely this because it is when we improve the education of the young people in this province that this province will then take off."

But his well wishes were strongly criticised by some ANC supporters who told News24 that he instead should have chastised ANC leaders.

Nthabi Siyolo said she was happy with Ramaphosa's speech until he spoke about the matric pass rate.

"It's disappointing that our national leaders think that 59.3% is enough. We know our kids can do more and they are failing because they do not have resources."

Mzuzile Ntanga said he wished that the party could recognise it was failing in the education sector and quickly deal with this.

"I was in matric two years ago and several of my friends failed. It's not that they are dumb, but it's because of the schools that we attend. They are derelict and the teachers are lazy and underpaid."

Channelling resources

Ramaphosa said that government needed to channel resources and energy to disadvantaged schools in the province to ensure "that all learners in the province receive the quality education that they deserve".

The Eastern Cape, he said, was home to schools that played a leading role in shaping a generation of African leaders.

He said to honour former ANC president Oliver Tambo, the government would expand access to free quality education at universities.

"We will focus on this province as well so that young people from poor communities can reach university level and obtain degrees and diplomas."

He said through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, government would fund 400 000 students at universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges for 2017.

"We will continue to engage with institutions, students and other stakeholders on how to resolve funding challenges in higher education in a sustainable manner."

Ramaphosa said that government would do its utmost to resolve challenges it encountered during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests.

"As a start, we will dish out almost R50 billion so that students can attend school." 

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