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glaring inequality in city schools

Cape Times

Michelle Jones

Education Writer

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EDUCATION in Cape Town is so unequal that matrics in top city schools are likely to get at least two distinctions while half of Khayelitsha’s matric pupils will fail their final exams.

This is according to Equal Education’s Ntuthuzo Ndzomo who was speaking yesterday at UCT to a packed lecture hall during the second day of Equal Education’s People’s Summit for Quality Education.

In his presentation “Inequality and poor quality in South African education”, Ndzomo compared one top city school, a former model C school, with all of the 19 secondary schools in Khayelitsha.

He found that each pupil at the former model C school was likely to achieve two or three distinctions, while the chances of the Khayelitsha pupils achieving a distinction were extremely slim.

Ndzomo found that every pupil in the top school had passed matric last year while only 50.3 percent of the Khayelitsha pupils passed.

The 165 pupils at the city school obtained 403 distinctions between them or 2.4 distinctions each.

The 3 228 Khayelitsha pupils obtained 44 distinctions between them.

Ndzomo had not used Khayelitsha’s Centre of Science and Technology (Cosat) to compile his research. It is one of the province’s best performing schools and is one of three Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) facilities in the Western Cape.

Equal Education blames these shocking statistics on a lack of library books, pupils being forced to share textbooks, pupils and teachers coming late, bad school infrastructure and too little training, support and pay for teachers.

Ndzomo said it was shocking to discover that matrics in Khayelitsha had performed worse in last year’s national senior certificate than their counterparts in the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape Education Department had been found to be so badly managed, the national department was forced to intervene and sent a team to manage the province.

Ndzomo said in 2010 in the Eastern Cape 58.3 percent of matrics had passed while only 50.3 percent of Khayelitsha matrics had done so.

“And now a panic for Khayelitsha, people are scared. This leaves you wondering what will happen this year. It is a very scary thing.”

Ndzomo said 13 of Khayelitsha’s 19 secondary schools had been classified as under-performing after last year’s matric results were released.

Schools are classified as under-performing when fewer than 60 percent of pupils pass.

The number of these schools had increased since 2007 when six Khayelitsha schools had been classified as under-performing, reaching a high of 14 in 2009.

“Again, what will happen this year?” Ndzomo asked.

The Western Cape Education Department has focused much of its resources on improving under-performing schools by allocating R41 million this year to schools for fee exemptions and assisting matrics to prepare for their final exams.

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