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Cape Town - Education MEC Donald Grant is hoping to reduce the number of underperforming high schools in the Western Cape from 26 to 12 or less this year.
Addressing journalists at a spring school in Crawford, Grant said: I’m going to stick my neck out now, and I reckon we’ll be down to 12 or less underperforming schools from 26, gauged on my visits to those schools, chatting to the learners at those schools, teachers and tutors.”
High schools are classified as underperforming if they achieve a matric pass rate of below 60 percent.
The number of underperforming high schools in the province has decreased from 85 in 2009 to 76 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 26 last year.
Grant said the provincial government’s target was to have zero underperforming schools by the end of 2014.
His spokeswoman, Bronagh Casey, said this year’s plan to reduce underperforming schools had been more focused.
Each education district developed an improvement plan.
An analysis of the 2012 National Senior Certificate results was conducted and discussed with each of the schools. The Grade 11 results of the class of 2013 were also analysed and a plan for each school was then developed.
Other measures included a telematics programme through which lessons presented by expert teachers were broadcast to several schools, tutoring for pupils over weekends and holidays.
Matric pupils have only one month left to prepare for the National Senior Certificate exams, which start on October 28.
Grant said the province wanted “as far as possible” to achieve more than 40 000 passes.
Last year the province achieved a record number of 36 992 passes.
“I want as many learners to pass as possible. I will look at the quality of the passes as well, the number of distinctions, the number taking mathematics, science, technology, accounting, economics - the gateway subjects to grow the economy.”
He said the number of candidates achieving passes which would give them access to Bachelor degree studies was also “a big deal”.
“That signifies real opportunity.”
Grant said that from next year the focus would shift to the 96 primary schools that have been classified as underperforming.