Johannesburg - The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) welcomed on Monday the ministerial task team's recommendations on the current matric pass mark, and urged the basic education department to implement them promptly.

“The report mirrors the general sentiment regularly voiced by business regardless of sector or size, that there are widespread concerns about the standard and quality of the matric exam,” Sacci said in a statement.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had tasked a team of experts to examine media reports and research which criticised the national senior certificate pass requirements.

The team submitted a 188-page report which Motshekga said she was studying. The report recommended that the department consider making mathematics a compulsory subject.

“A major effect that the introduction of such compulsory subject combinations is expected to have is an increased proportion enrolling for mathematics for sound educational reasons.”

The report projected that if mathematics was made compulsory it would have to be phased in over a few years to avoid a decline in overall enrolments in science-related subjects.

A national campaign to educate people about the value, place, and role of mathematical literacy and mathematics was also suggested.

The department was also urged to increase the minimum pass rate, which currently stood at 30 percent.

Sacci said it appreciated a comment by the task team that a higher pass mark on its own did not ensure improved educational quality, and that the quality of teachers remained a necessary condition.

“While improving the quality of educators is a long-term goal, at least a more stringent pass requirement lays the foundation in the short run for gradual system improvement.”

Motshekga was expected to make further announcements relating to the report in due course.