EDUCATION experts said that under the circumstances brought by the pandemic the 5.1% drop was far less than what was expected. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
EDUCATION experts said that under the circumstances brought by the pandemic the 5.1% drop was far less than what was expected. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

5.1% drop in matric pass rate far less than experts expected

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Feb 22, 2021

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THE Class of 2020 and their teachers need to be congratulated on the outstanding performance of the 76.2% pass rate they have achieved.

This is according to education experts who said that under the circumstances brought about by the pandemic the 5.1% drop was far less than what was expected.

University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Professor Labby Ramrathan said: “I am a bit surprised that it fell by just over 5%, taking into consideration the extent to which learners had to do self-learning, the opportunities to study in overcrowded homes, lack of adequate access to learning infrastructure and lesser number of school days.”

Professor Ramodungoane Tabane of the department of psychology of education at Unisa said he doubted that the results were a true reflection of the potential of the class 2020.

"These learners and teachers operated under a death cloud due to Covid-19. There was anxiety whether the exams would even take place. There was a fear of the maths and science results affecting the credibility. All this affected learner and teacher performance,” said Tabane.

The education experts argued that matric class of 2020 could not be compared to that of 2019.

It was not fair to compare the two groups, said Stellenbosch University Chair of curriculum studies, Professor Michael le Cordeur.

Ramrathan said: “The 2020 matric year should be looked at on its own – it is certainly not fair to compare it to other years or to use it as a benchmark for future years’ assessment of results.”

According to the experts, the government and the private sector needed to support schools with resources so that they are able to run online classes, as the pandemic has taught.

“ICT is now a necessity. Hire teachers who are technology astute and train those that are not. We still have schools that do not have email: this is despite, for instance, that in Gauteng the schools are supposed to. Thus, in other provinces the results are worse. Digitise teaching and use technology to enhance learning more so in public rural schools,” said Tabane.

Ramrathan added: “Improve systematically the school infrastructure across all schools starting from quintile 1 schools and progressing through to quintile 5 schools to make them conducive sites for teaching and learning.”

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