Zille was right - Africa Check

2016-01-07 14:02

Cape Town – Despite an online backlash, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was right about the Western Cape matrics - almost.

The province’s 2015 matrics were the first since 1994 to all be eligible for some form of higher education, according to Africa Check.

Zille's tweet could have been interpreted to mean that they were the first matrics in the country since 1994 to achieve the feat. This was not true.

In 2011, North West and Northern Cape matrics did it as well, according to research by Africa Check’s Kate Wilkinson.

In 2015, North West matrics did it again.

When the 2015 matric exam results were announced, Zille tweeted: "Big news item and first time in SA's democracy: every learner who passed matric in WCape did well enough to get access to higher education."

She then clarified that it was the first time in the Western Cape.

"Zille is correct about Western Cape pupils’ performance. The class of 2015 are the first of which all the pupils who passed are eligible for some form of tertiary education," Africa Check said.

The African National Congress in the Western Cape lambasted Zille for gloating.

"It should further be noted that the matric pass level is not an automatic access pass to an institution of higher education, but merely an indication of what a student may apply to study for,” the ANC's Western Cape education spokesperson, Theo Olivier, said.

ANC Western Cape spokesperson Cobus Grobler said Zille had created the impression that matrics automatically got a place in higher learning institutions. They had to apply, get accepted, and be able to pay for their studies.

The Western Cape was the best performing province in the 2015 National Senior Certificate exams, with an 84.7% pass rate.

The ANC blamed Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer for the 8 000 matrics who had failed in the province. She had shown little concern for the province’s poorest township schools, Olivier said.

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