011014. Department of Education, Johannesburg. Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi address the media on Gauteng readiness for 2014 Grade 12 Exams. 262 Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has vowed that if the Gauteng matric pass rate drops from last year’s 87 percent, district directors and the head of department (HoD), Boy Ngobeni, will be fired.

Lesufi announced this on Wednesday during a media briefing on the province’s readiness for the matric exams, which commence on October 27.

With Ngobeni seated next him, Lesufi said: “I’ve signed a performance agreement with the HoD and all our district offices.

“Anyone who drops, even by 1 percent, they must give me a resignation letter - that’s the performance agreement I’ve signed with the district managers.

“All our districts are performing above 80 percent, so any district that drops, the district director has to resign. The HoD is here, I’m not speaking behind (his back). If the results drop, he resigns. That’s the agreement I have with him.

“Any district that drops, even if it’s by 0.01 percent, before you give me the results, put the resignation letter on top.”

Lesufi said the province was preparing the pupils so they do not just compete with their peers from other provinces, but with the “best in the world”, particularly pupils from the other Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

The exams will be written by 101 265 full-time and 42 382 part-time candidates in Gauteng.

Lesufi said the department had allocated R140 million this year towards the Secondary School Improvement Programme, which also covers the costs of running the matric camps.

He said that unlike previous occasions, this year’s camps, which will run from October 13 to 24, would be divided into three categories.

The first group is the high-risk learners’ camps catering to pupils in schools that have performed below standard. There will be 15 of them catering to just more than 5 300 pupils from 19 schools.

The second group will attend what are termed residential camps. These camps will be for 13 712 pupils who are expected to score high marks or, as the MEC described them, the “Rolls-Royce” of the system. There will be 19 centres across all 15 districts for these pupils.

The last category is walk-in camps. There will be 108 across all districts and they will cater to pupils who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend the programme on a full-time basis.

Lesufi admitted he was worried that this year’s matrics were the first cohort to write their finals under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements.

“There are new parts in the exams where learners don’t have the latitude of previous exam papers, where they’ll be seeing (questions) for the first time in the exams… that’s going to be a challenge. That’s why we’re upping the support we’re giving to the learners.

“But I must be honest I’m very worried - there are areas, if we had time, we’d improve. It’s understandable to have challenges with maths, science, life sciences and physical science, but your economics and accounting…

“It shocked me when I saw the number of learners who are struggling now with those two subjects, which normally are not subjects we’d have sleepless nights over.”

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The Star