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Port Elizabeth - Almost three-quarters of Eastern Cape pupils who started school in 2001 did not make it through to their matric exams last year, the DA said on Tuesday.
“We are cultivating a province of school dropouts with little opportunity of becoming successful job-seekers and entrepreneurs,” Democratic Alliance spokesman Edmund van Vuuren said in a statement.
He was commenting on responses to written questions he received from Eastern Cape education MEC Mandla Makupula.
According to Makupula's response, 74 percent of pupils who entered the school system in 2001, did not make it to matric in 2012.
“Of the 26 percent (or 72 354 children) who did make it all the way to matric last year, only 14 percent (or 39 443) of the total cohort actually passed matric,” Van Vuuren said.
Makupula said in his written response that one of the main reasons for this was that the school system had not always been curriculum-driven, and that since 2011 the department had focused more on this aspect.
“The reasons for the high dropout rates and low cohort survival figures are varied, and causes are related to various socio-economic and educational issues,” Makupula said.
These included teenage pregnancy, youth delinquency, poverty and poor parental control over children.
Van Vuuren said: “What is needed is a strong and effective school leadership, employing quality teachers who can instil a love for their subjects in learners, developing discipline and confidence, providing a safe environment and meaningful subject combinations which will give learners the necessary tools to gain decent employment.”
The DA wanted each school to be assured of core minimum resources.
“When in government, we will take steps including linking schooling to Child Support Grants, to reduce the dropout rate.”