Johannesburg – The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) said the 2015 matric results indicated that language still played a major role in determining the outcome for pupils.
The results showed that there was still a long way to go as a country in the development and promotion of indigenous languages, the teachers union said in a statement.
“It is a well-established educational fact that those who have the advantage of a mother tongue medium of instruction tend to do much better than their counterparts who are otherwise disadvantaged."
Sadtu said Umalusi chose to side with the "untransformed" universities to bar pupils from accessing higher education by withdrawing language compensation.
“It is outrageous that Umalusi, instead of understanding that the language compensation is informed by this country’s history, that these African learners do not have a choice... It is becoming clearer every year that we need to prioritise the development of African indigenous languages into languages of teaching and learning instead of reducing them to the periphery behind English and Afrikaans.”
Sadtu said it wanted to see the professional development of teachers who would be competent in African indigenous languages.
“As long as we have an education system that does not support the languages and the culture of the majority we will not be able to build a nation and we will continue to encounter South Africans who refer to others as 'monkeys'... As long as we have a department that budgets a paltry R20 million for teacher development then the promotion of African indigenous languages to give equal access to education to all learners will remain a pipe dream,” it said.
The 2015 national pass rate fell to 70.7%, compared to 75.8% in 2014. South Africa's three biggest rural provinces, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and the worst performer, the Eastern Cape which have over half the country's pupils, were largely responsible for the drop in the 2015 matric pass rate, according to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.