Johannesburg - The South African education system is inefficient because it deals with pupils’ academic problems by failing them.
Speaking at the launch of the Matric Second Chance Programme at Ivory Park Secondary School in Tembia on Wednesday, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said about 17 000 pupils failed their 2015 matric exams.
The repetition rate in developed countries is 1 percent, in SADC countries 5 percent, but in South Africa it stands at 10 percent.
“This inefficient system is costing the country R120 million a year.
“Not only that, the learners who are failed get discouraged and most run away from school.
“Then, in spite of their having spent years at school, they leave with no evidence of them having been in the education system,” she said.
Pupils should be supported and encouraged to stay at school and get a matric qualification, she said.
Although great strides had been made in the provision of basic education since 1994, the greatest challenge facing the basic education sector was the high dropout rate of pupils.
“According to the National Development Plan 2011, South Africa loses half of every cohort that enters the school system by the end of the 12-year schooling period, wasting significant human potential and harming the life chances of many young people,” she said.
Research showed that, among other problems, teenage pregnancy, low levels of literacy and numeracy, drugs and substance abuse, an increase in school violence, pervasive gender-based violence, gangsterism, bullying, HIV/Aids, obesity and the breakdown in traditional family structures all contributed to the high dropout rate.
It is these dire statistics and realities that have galvanised the department into launching the Second Chance matric programme, which provides support for candidates writing the supplementary exams in February/March and June this year.
The programme is there to offer young people who have failed to meet the requirements of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) a second chance to obtain a matric.
The categories of learners who will be covered are those who qualify to write supplementary exams for a maximum of two subjects, progressed pupils who pursue multiple opportunities to complete the NSC, and learners who failed to meet the requirements of the NSC in 2015.
Support will be provided to supplementary learners through:
Face-to-face tuition by Grade 12 teachers from best-performing schools that have an excellent, inspiring track record.
Multimedia broadcasting solutions from the existing Telematics centres in the provinces.
Vodacom Centres (one in each province) - learners will be able to access these at any time - the support material will be allocated to a separate tab on the Vodacom and Thutong portals, which learners may access.
Pupils will also be able to access Mindset content and broadcast station exclusive for the Department of Basic Education via OpenView.
Decoders and satellite dishes will be provided to the pilot schools.
Supervised study time at schools, teacher centres and Vodacom centres.
A Facebook page with subject specialists available for learners to post questions on will be provided with support material and the Mind the Gap series.
A CD will be provided to each learning site with previous exam question papers, memoranda, Mind the Gap series, as well as all other content available from the Department of Basic Education. Learners will also be taught how to interpret and answer questions.