Cape Town - The provincial education ministry has hit back at critics of its recent matric results, particularly in poorer communities.
A number of commentators, including the ANC and some allies, had accused the DA-led provincial government of failing to provide quality education to all pupils.
Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said a breakdown of results in poorer communities proved these comments were misleading the public. “Since 2009, when the DA came into government, the results of our poorer schools have improved significantly year on year.”
National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) spokesman Sizwe Pamla had said it was “deeply concerned by the mediocre performance of the Western Cape province, especially schools from the predominantly black communities.
“This happens as a result of the blatant and escalating levels of neglect of these schools… This careless and total disregard for black education by the Zille administration cannot continue to be tolerated almost 20 years into our democracy.”
Provincial South African Communist Party spokesman Masonwabe Sokoyi had slammed the Western Cape government for its “downward spiral” in education.
ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman said it was “disappointed” with the Western Cape’s performance as there were “two educational worlds”, which allowed former Model C schools to thrive while others were offered little support.
But Casey refuted these comments and pointed to results in poor schools since the DA came into power.
Schools were categorised into five groups called quintiles, with Quintile 1 schools being the poorest and Quintile 5 the least poor.
“If we analyse the data of our quintile 1-3 schools, our schools serving the poorest communities, the substantial increases in all indicators, including the pass rate, become immediately clear.
“The pass rate in quintile 1 to 3 schools has improved significantly in the last five years – in fact, by 16.12 percentage points. The pass rate has increased from 56.93 percent in 2009 to 73.05 percent in 2013.”
Casey said over the period 2009 to 2013, the number of passes had increased by more than 3 300 pupils and the number of bachelor passes had doubled.
The number of underperforming schools had decreased by more than half in quintile 1 to 3 schools.
“Since 2009, the number of underperforming schools in our poorer communities has decreased by 66 percent, from 50 schools in 2009 to 17 in 2013.”
Casey said that despite these improvements, it was recognised there was a need to further improve results in quintile 1 to 3 schools.