Grade 12 learners celebrate as they collected their matric results at Centre of Science and Technology in Khayetsha. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News AGency(ANA)
Grade 12 learners celebrate as they collected their matric results at Centre of Science and Technology in Khayetsha. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /African News AGency(ANA)

Matric result claims flawed

By Brian Isaacs Time of article published Jan 17, 2020

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The 2019 matric results in South Africa were published in national newspapers on January 8.

The matrics of 2019 obtained a 36.9 % Bachelor’s pass rate (186058 learners). Reference: IOL, January 9 2020.

My concern with the matric results or any academic results will always be the quality of the results. One needs to define this term quality.

I had the very fortunate opportunity to do Latin as a subject at the high school I attended in Diep River, Cape Town.

The word quality come from the Latin word qualis meaning of what kind. It is defining how good or how bad something is.

So how good or how bad is the primary and high school education system in South Africa?

Twelve years ago (2007), 798531 children started their primary school career. At the end of 2019 only 63% wrote the matric exams (503075 pupils).

Where are the remaining 37% of pupils who did not reach matric? This is an alarming statistic. What is more frightening is that there were not enough classrooms in high schools to accommodate these children.

It would be a simple problem to solve if we had enough classrooms in high schools to accommodate the 798531 students coming from primary schools (Cape Times, January 9).

In the urban areas parents of children who have passed Grade 7 can complain to the media to take up their cases for accommodation, but it is in the rural areas where we see a lack of high school infrastructure and where parents do not have a voice and where the Basic Education Department blames the teachers for not producing quality passes.

These are all lies by the government (including the DA government in the Western Cape).

I noticed the good (equal or unequal) relationship Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has with Minister of Education Angie Motshekga at the release of matric results over a period of time.

The fact is that for every two primary schools there is only one high school. This is a mathematical literacy problem.

If amillion children start Grade1 and 12 years later only 500000 pass matric, this is because there are too few high schools to accommodate these children, and almost 50% will never see the inside of a high school classroom.

This is the crux of the country’s educational problem: a shortage of classrooms.

Unless this is addressed by the government and Education Department, 50% of our children entering Grade 1 in 2020 will leave the school system in Grade 7 never entering the classroom of a high school. On the other hand, the government and education departments are boasting about an 81% pass rate based on a group of 503075 matriculants in 2019.

Where are the other pupils who did not make it to high school?

They are either employed as low-skilled workers with a miserable life ahead of them as South Africans.

Their children are destined by the powers that be to become hewers of wood and the drawers of water (Joshua 9:21), while those who can afford a quality education will become the new bosses of the majority of unemployed or low-skilled workers.

What a sorry state of affairs! Unless South Africa comes to terms and reverses this worsening situation it will remain bottom of the class in the world.

* Brian Isaacs obtained a BSc (UWC) in 1975, a Secondary Teacher’s Diploma in 1976, BEd (UWC) in 1981, and MEd (UWC) in 1992. He is a former matriculant, teacher and principal at South Peninsula High School.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus


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