Johannesburg - The lobby group, AfriForum, has expressed concern about reports of a new “passing rule” in South African schools.
“AfriForum was shocked by the decision of the Minister of Basic Education (Angie Motshekga) that senior learners may from now on only fail once in Grades 10 to 12,” the civil rights lobby said on Monday.
“A second fail will mean that they will be passed automatically.”
Beeld reported that a directive to this effect was published in the Government Gazette on December 28.
This had previously applied only to the first three education phases - grades R to three, four to six and seven to nine.
AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey said the new regulation would create a string of problems.
“If it is unclear to an employer whether a learner has passed Grades 10 to 12 on merit, he will not offer the matriculant employment,” she said.
“If a learner should fail Grade 10, but knows that he will be passed in Grades 11 and 12, what incentive would he or she have to put in the extra effort to pass the other two years?”
This would also compromise the results of pupils who did pass on merit, making it unclear who deserved the qualification, she said.
The education department said it intended introducing a regulation which would allow pupils in the FET band (Grades 10, 11 and 12) to repeat a grade only once, spokesman Terence Khala said.
“This is not new. The regulation has been applicable to the GET (General Education and Training) phase (Grades One, Two and Three) over the years,” he said.
“This regulation intends to ensure progression of learners by age cohort, ie to avoid learners being in the same class with much younger children. As for Grade 12, this regulation will not apply, because Grade 12 is a certification point.”
Khala said a pupil could not get a certificate without passing, and said the regulations had been gazetted for public comment. - Sapa