To improve the quality of teaching and learning, learners need to be involved.
To improve the quality of teaching and learning, learners need to be involved.

What can be done to improve SA’s matric results?

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Feb 26, 2021

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After the most difficult year for matrics, the results of the Matric Class of 2020 are down by 5% compared to last year.

The matric results dropped from 81.3% in 2019 to 76.2% in 2020.

A number of experts have predicted that Covid-19 will have a big impact on the matric results.

But students and teachers still hoped that all the extra work they did would deliver the same results as the previous year.

A critic of the current matric examinations, former University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen, once said South Africa’s disregard for competence is illustrated by the way government policies have dumbed down the school system since the 1990s.

“We created a watered-down mathematics stream for those who, we were told, could not do maths,” he said.

“We gave legitimacy (and a university-entrance point) to life orientation when, in the past, guidance (or the lack thereof) had no consequences.”

He said passing levels in school subjects are pegged at 30% and 40%, and that we created an exit level at Grade 9 because more than half the children who start Grade 1 do not make it past matric. Jansen provides ways to improve our education system, quoted from his Facebook post.

  • Stop the circus: no more announcement of matric results. I would instead announce the results of our investment in pre-school education programmes – how well prepared are our preschoolers for formal education?
  • Fire all the deployed officials in provinces and districts. Officials welcome to re-apply on the basis of proven competence – party loyalties will be irrelevant.
  • Appoint an ombudsperson for every SGB to root out corruption in teacher and head appointments.
  • Ensure every child has a textbook in every subject within three months, or somebody loses his job.
  • Increase the salaries of teachers on one criterion only – that the children in the poorest schools show steady increases in achievement scores.
  • Teachers will show up in every class every day and teach. Two strikes (misses) and you’re out unless there is a certified medical certificate which can be cross-checked for dishonesty.
  • Teachers are given three months off every three years to improve their professional qualifications.

“To improve the quality of teaching and learning, we need to involve the learners, let them be part of what they want to learn, and encourage them to own it. Let’s find out from them if we are doing the right things. If we are to improve, what is it that we must do?”, adds a teacher from Cape Town.

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