Angie Motshekga, the Minister of education and other officials with the Top learners for the Class of 2019  at a breakfast with the Top-Achieving learners and parents. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Despite a high pass rate in last year's school ending matric examinations, most students face an uncertain future because the tertiary education system is largely ill-equipped for them, the Inkatha Freedom Party said on Wednesday.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga on Tuesday announced a matric pass rate of 81.3 percent for 2019, a 3.1 percentage point increase from the previous year and the highest rate since the end of white minority rule in 1994. 

Critics are however saying the official pass rate does not take into account the thousands of students that dropped out of school along the way since the class of 2019 first enrolled in grade one some twelve years ago.

In a statement on Wednesday, IFP spokesman Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the results showed that schools which were largely overlooked for development during apartheid rule continued to lag others in terms of quality passes, only registering increases in the quantity output. 

"Therefore the 2019 matric results must be taken with a pinch of salt when the future is taken into account," he said. "The biggest question becomes 'what next?' when you have a higher education system that is ill equipped for these results."

Hlengwa said South Africa's universities did not have the space to absorb all students, while technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges meant to take some of them in were "in perpetual disarray".

"The reality is that South Africa has under-qualified lecturers at TVET colleges; and this is where the majority of those who have passed will be expected to go. The certification programme is poorly managed," he said.

"Whilst we celebrate these results as a country we must avoid churning out quantity over quality if we are to meaningfully push back on the frontiers of poverty and inequality."

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African News Agency (ANA)