National Teachers' Union president Allen Thompson said the matric results released yesterday were the result of teachers doing everything within their power to ensure pupils passed their exams. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - National Teachers' Union president Allen Thompson said the matric results released yesterday were the result of teachers doing everything within their power to ensure pupils passed their exams.

Thompson said there was still room for improvement, however. To achieve better results than the 81.3% pass achieved in KwaZulu-Natal, the Education Department should improve on aspects such as overcrowding of classrooms. Thompson said classrooms sometimes had as many as 100 pupils and this made it difficult for teachers to do their jobs properly. Another problem was that pupils with learning disabilities were not quickly identified by teachers due to the large numbers in the classroom.

Filling vacant positions was another issue and educating teachers on the fourth industrial revolution as advocated by the national government would help them better educate pupils.

“We believe we can close the gap between the public and Independent Examinations Board,” Thompson said. He pointed out that some teachers who taught at IEB schools came from the public sector and left because they did not get proper remuneration.

Thompson said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga also needed to get more power so she could hold education MECs, who were currently accountable to premiers, accountable.

Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) president Scelo Bhengu said: “All the credit goes to the teachers and pupils. They have gone through extreme lengths in pleasing us this year by having school (lessons) during the weekends and staying after school to teach and learn, so we applaud them,” he said.

Bhengu expressed his dissatisfaction with schools receiving “very little to no support” from the Department of Education. “We are also concerned about the issue of security in schools. High schools have been turned into drug dens, which has made teachers scared to do their jobs. We urge the department to come closer and work with teachers in the new year,” he said.

National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) KZN spokesperson Thirona Moodley was pleased to hear that females had scored the most distinctions. “This opens more doors for our girls in our province, which is mainly made of rural areas. They have done exceptionally well even in maths. This will create more independent women and will enable a shift culturally and economically for our country,” she said, also noting that the drop-out rate among females was said to be at a low in recent years.

“A 5% pass rate increase from last year is a fundamental increase for education stakeholders and a huge reason to celebrate due to teachers now understanding the CAPS curriculum and being well equipped,” she added. Moodley expressed her disappointment in the maths and accounting marks and said that education stakeholders would work on improving them.

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