Matriculants praised for top performance
Through its partnership with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the department had ensured that the pupils who received social grants were accepted in higher learning institutions. It also ensured they qualified for funding through NSFAS.
Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the National Development Plan (Vision 2030) proposed a comprehensive social protection system to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa.
“The more people are educated, the more they are able to create a conducive environment for themselves. Once a child is born a good environment depends not only on us in the Department of Education and the Department of Social Development - it depends on all other departments doing the right thing,” she said.
Zulu said they were pleased that 55% of the National Senior Certificate passes were pupils from “no fee schools”. Since 2012, the department started tracking the educational outcomes of pupils receiving social protection services with the view to locate and improve the well-being of vulnerable children through education.
One of the top 20 pupils receiving social grants was Nondumiso Msiza, one of the top achievers in the South African Sign Language Home Language category. She was receiving Care Dependency Grant and the grant became inactive due to the age threshold of 18 years.
Msiza told Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga that she wanted to study to become a sign language educator. MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi said if they did not get education right, the country and the economy would be unable to rise.
He said the pupils’ contribution to the country was important and they should know that the government was looking after them.
“Our investment is clear that we want our children to acquire the skills so that they contribute meaningfully. People believe that the government does nothing for the people but there is so much that is done,” he said.