The Free State MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe, has set 95% as the target for the 2017 matric pass rate.
Raising the bar was motivated by the province’s 93,2% matric pass rate for 2016, which surpassed the initial target of 90%.
Over the years, the Free State has remained a contender as one of the five best performing provinces, along with the Western Cape, Gauteng and North West. In 2015 the Free State was third with 81,6%, behind second-place winner Gauteng with 84,2% and the Western Cape in the first position with 84,7%.
In the glory of the Free State being top of the 2016 matric class, Makgoe believes the 93% for 2016 should be the driving force for achieving a 95% pass rate.
“Nobody would have thought that we would achieve that and I’m happy we did. It shows that a province led by the ANC can achieve the top results if we work together and forget [about] small differences,” said Makgoe, addressing the media in Bloemfontein on Thursday (05/01).
The Free State prides itself on the achievements of Johan Champion and Salemane Ngakana, who topped the 2016 matric class in the province and were among the top 100 achievers.
The Free State government announced it would offer bursaries to the top 100 learners to further their studies at universities in South Africa.
The DA in the Free State congratulated all 2016 matriculants who obtained the National Senior Certificate (NSC).
“We would like to wish you well for the future,” said Mariette Pittaway, DA member of the provincial legislature.
“A special note of thanks should also be extended to all the dedicated parents, teachers, school principals and departmental officials in the province for their commitment, dedication and hard work towards educating our youth in preparation for adult life.
“While we celebrate with those who passed their NSC exams, we also have a duty to acknowledge and recognise that the basic education system continues to fail more than half a generation each year.
“The true matric pass rate of the province can only be calculated by considering the number of learners who drop out of the school system between gr. 10 to gr. 12.
“There were 55 293 learners enrolled for gr. 10 in 2014, while at the start of the 2016 school year, only 29 077 learners were enrolled for matric and only 26 786 learners actually sat to write NSC examinations.
“This means that more than half of possible matric learners, 28 507 individuals to be exact, dropped out of the basic school system, relegating half a generation to a life of unemployment and further entrenching a cycle of poverty and misery,” said Pittaway.