Without resources, rural schools will continue to underperform - NGO

2016-01-06 12:50

Cape Town – Unless access to school resources improves in the rural areas, learners will continue to underperform, Equal Education said on Wednesday.

Congratulating the class of 2015, Equal Education said the pass rates in the worst performing areas needed to be looked at in the context of high levels of inequality. They also called on the results to be presented differently, looking at rural vs urban, township vs suburban, former white schools vs former black schools.

The 2015 national pass rate fell to 70.7%, compared to 75.8% in 2014.

The Western Cape was the best performing province, with an 84.7% pass rate.

The worst performing province was the Eastern Cape, with a pass rate of 56.8%.

The NGO said urban provinces such as the Western Cape and Gauteng continued to record pass rates well above the national average, which was expected.

"It is expected given that in these provinces less than 1% of schools lack water, electricity or sanitation and schools there have the highest teacher to learner ratios in both primary and secondary schools."

It said inequality in performance between provinces could to some extent be attributed to the poor state of resourcing and infrastructure in rural schools.  

"Every year, and last year in particular, EC and KZN struggled to provide adequate scholar transport to its learners due to a lack of funding. The majority of learners in these provinces still have to walk long distances to get to school."

Equal Education also emphasised that more needed to be done to tackle high school drop-out rates.

"An estimated 478 163 learners who enrolled for Grade 10 in 2013 still did not make it to matric in 2015 – reflecting a 41.71% dropout rate. More progress must be made to rectify this abysmal situation.”

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