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The final anxious hours for matrics

Cape Town - The anxious wait is almost over for the matric class of 2013.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will announce the national and provincial results on Monday.

To cope with the anxiety of waiting for their matric results, from left, Tarquin Vollenhoven, of Rustenberg Girls' High, her cousin Michaela Vollenhoven, of Fairbairn College, and Carlin Landsberg, also of Fairbairn, blow off steam at the Willow Bridge shopping centre in Tyger Valley. Photo: Ian Landsberg. Credit: INLSA

School and individual results for the 576 490 full-time and 130 646 part-time registered matrics will be available on Tuesday.

Western Cape matrics will be able to view their results at their schools from midday on Tuesday, says Penny Vinjevold, head of education in the province.

“The WCED has applied rigorous standards to marking the exams,” Vinjevold said. “We are confident that the results will be a true and accurate reflection of the abilities of our candidates.”

The provincial education department will hold an awards ceremony for the province’s top schools and pupils on January 14.

The WCED set their target at 40 000 passes for this matric class – a stretch from last year’s 36 992. But Vinjevold firmly placed the measure of success on the actual number of passes rather than the percentage pass rate.

“You can improve a pass rate by encouraging your weakest candidates to drop out of school,” she said. “We actively discourage this practice. We are committed to supporting our weakest learners and to ensuring that as many candidates as possible are given every opportunity to write matric.”

Writing in the Sunday Times on Sunday, Professor Jonathan Jansen, rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, said pass rates were not the progress indicators they were cracked up to be. He called the announcement of pass rates an “orgy of self-congratulation”.

He pointed out that pass rates were calculated “at a base of 30 percent in some subjects and 40 percent in others” – a far cry from the 50 percent by which academic work was judged in most other contexts.

Jansen also described a “culling process that left behind about half a million students who started in Grade 1 and did not make it to Grade 12”, and the rising number of pupils doing maths literacy instead of pure maths. The public must bear these factors in mind when celebrating higher pass rates, Jansen warned.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has called on matrics to celebrate – and commiserate – responsibly.

Richard Bosman, executive director for safety and security, said: “We understand that this is a watershed moment for many of our young people, but with the celebrations comes responsibility. One life lost is one too many and I’d like to appeal to matriculants to consider this when hitting the streets with their friends to celebrate their passage into the next phase of their young adult lives.”

Where to get your results

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