University of the Free State Rector and Vice Chancellor, Professor Jonathan Jansen. Picture: Etienne Creux.

Johannesburg - Government schools should set a 50 percent pass rate to get South African's education system on track, says University of Free State vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen, the Sunday Times reports.

“We should begin by raising the pass mark for all school subjects to 50 percent, the (still admittedly low) standard set for academic work in most contexts,” Jansen wrote in an opinion piece for the newspaper.

“Schools are self-regulating systems with the remarkable capacity to adjust to a new standard over time.”

Jansen said no matter what pass rate was announced for the Grade 12 national senior certificate on Monday, the results were “grossly misleading”.

“These pass rates are still calculated at a base of 30 percent in some subjects and 40 percent in others.”

Jansen raised concern about the “culling process” in which about 500,000 pupils who started Grade One dropped out before matric.

He highlighted a problem with new policy that “forbids” a student from failing a grade in the FET (Grade 10-12) phase more than once.

“Failing once means you will find yourself automatically promoted.”

Jansen said instability in teacher unions needed to be calmed.

“The long-term resolution of the school's crisis is only partly educational; it is in the first place political.” - Sapa