File picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media
File picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

Focus on early learning, not matric, says Equal Education

By African News Agency Time of article published Jan 4, 2017

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Johannesburg - Equal Education (EE) on Wednesday urged government to focus on the improvement of early learning at public schools instead of the annual matric pass rate, which continued to reflect a crisis in primary education, the organisation said on Wednesday.

"Equal Education has repeatedly cautioned against the national pre-occupation with the matric pass rate.

For one, the pass rate reflects only the performance of those learners who managed to stay in school for 12 years, and obscures how many dropped out along the way," the lobby group said in a statement.

"Excessive pressure is brought to bear on learners, teachers, principals, and education bureaucrats for the sake of the annual shindig that is the national matric results announcement. The matric pass percentage is a superficial and misleading indicator of public education quality – particularly as extensive analysis reveals an ongoing crisis in primary schooling in South Africa."

EE said the root of poor performance at Grade 12 level lay in the poor education in the foundation phase.

"If Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga sincerely wanted to share an honest diagnosis of the schooling system with the public, she would use her elaborate stage to report comprehensively on literacy and numeracy outcomes for foundation phase learners (Grade R to Grade 3). Most learners who must suffer an inadequate foundation phase education are the children of the poor and working class."

The poor early childhood development and poor foundation phase education resulted in a missed opportunity to reduce learning gaps and develop children, irrespective of their home background, is lost, said the EE.

"Children acquire learning deficits in the early grades. This is the root of under-performance in the later high school grades."

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga would on Wednesday announce the 2016 matric pass rate in Johannesburg. The results would be released publicly on Thursday.

African News Agency

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