Cape Town - The Department of Basic Education has come under fire from political parties, despite an increase in the pass rate.
Some of the parties said the results were not a true state of education on the ground.
DA spokesperson on education Baxolile Nodada said this was the first matric cohort that experienced their full Grade 11 and 12 years under the national lockdown conditions.
“Despite the matric pass rate announced by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, it is an inflated 76.4% that does not reflect reality. The department does not account for the number of learners who dropped out between Grade 10 to matric, and the real pass rate might be much lower,” Nodada said.
He said the real pass rate was 51.4%, because of the dropout rate.
“This year, the dropout rate of learners between Grade 10 to Grade 12 was 32.7% (or 341 403 learners),” said Nodada.
ANC education spokesperson Khalid Sayed welcomed the results with mixed feelings. He congratulated the class of 2021 for showing resilience and improving the pass rate.
“However, we are disappointed that the Western Cape has not improved significantly from last year’s overall results. It upped its total pass rate by 1.3% from 2020 to 81.2%, and is the third best performing province, behind Gauteng and the Free State.
“Despite this, we welcome the improvement in the district pass rate as the number of districts with a pass rate above 80% has increased to six. We further call on the WCED to put measures in place to support the Metro East District which always achieves below 80%,” Sayed said.
GOOD Party’s secretary-general Brett Herron said: “The increased number of matriculants who completed their 12th year of basic education and the increased outcomes are deeply encouraging.
“We are pleased that the Western Cape has shown an improvement in their results, once again exceeding an 80% pass rate, after falling below 80% previously.
“A province that has some of the most developed educational infrastructure in the country, and whose government claims to be the best run, should expect to see this reflected in education outcomes,.” Herron said.
MPs in the portfolio committee on basic education conducted an oversight visit to the Free State yesterday. The Free State topped all provinces with the highest pass rate.
The portfolio committee said it welcomed the results for this year, and that matriculants had worked hard.
The IFP said it welcomed the results, with the party hoping the minister would address some of the challenges facing the department.
Scottsville secondary School achieved the greatest improvement in pass rate across the Western Cape province, a 34.5% increase.
“This is a good story because it gives other pupils hope now. We can now say that one can defeat their circumstances and rise above the challenges, no matter what. 2021 matriculants have shown that it can only get better from here because now we can make more efforts to support the pupils and offer more psychosocial support, given the traumatic events that occur daily in the area,” said Scottsville principal Henry Hockey.
“We definitely can do more than 64% and from here our focus will be on curating the curriculum in such a manner that gives our pupils a better opportunity to be involved in today's society. We plan on encouraging pupils to do subjects that lead them into IT, Computer Science, Engineering and Graphic Design because at the end of the day, this is what the world needs now,” said Hockey.
Scottsville pupil Alticia Adonis said that she was overwhelmed with emotions as she was now the first matriculant in her family.
“I am so overjoyed that I've made it this far. There were several times I wanted to give up, but my support system and home carried me through it all. Being the first to make it this far was not an easy weight to carry around, but prayer and family made it easy for me to push through, face my obstacles and conquer,” said Adonis.
Top pupil at the school, Timothy Travis Wilson, was also one to be praised among his friends and teachers at the school as his hard work paid off.
“I am still shivering with excitement as we speak because I never expected it. I was okay with being number two, I felt that was safe. Never in a thousand years did I think or expect that I would be a top pupil in matric, most of all.
“What pushed me through was the perseverance to better my circumstances. Honestly, during our final exams, I worried about my safety and my friends’ safety. I honestly wanted to just push through and I think going forward, especially for the pupils that are yet to come, perseverance is key. We did it through a whole pandemic, so can they,” said Wilson.
MEC Debbie Schäfer said that having achieved the greatest improvement in pass rate last year across the whole province, she looked forward to even a greater improvement this year.
“The reduction in the inequality gap between our quintile 4-5 schools and our quintile 1-3 schools is significant. We have worked hard to reduce this gap and the effort is paying off.
“I am pleased to be in the Metro East Education District, as the district which had the second largest increase in pass rate, from 73.24% in 2020 to 77.14% in 2021. I thank Director Landeka Diamond for the hard work she did in the district, and I look forward to even greater things to come
“It is our vision to provide quality education to every learner, in every classroom, in every school in the Province – these stats evidently show that, with continued determination and commitment, we are on track to achieve it! Congratulations to our quintile 1-3 schools for this remarkable achievement,” said Schäfer.