Monday, January 10, 2011

Is passing matric an accomplishment at all?

When one looks at the matric results of 2010, so many questions are raised about the results. While no-one can deny that our educational standard is far below par, except for the ANC and its cronies of all stripes, including Umalusi (the quality assurance body for education in South Africa), we have to wonder why there is such a huge jump (7.2%) in our matric pass-rate?! Carien Kruger and Gershwin Chuenyane probed this issue with some questions in their News24 news article.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga called the 67.8% pass-rate a “remarkable achievement.” When someone, like an education minister calls the failure of 32.2% of matric pupils a “remarkable achievement,” it has to be recognized that the education department’s priorities are all messed up. When a third of a school’s individual class fails in matric, it would be recognized as a disaster, and an investigation should be launched as to why so many children have failed in that class! Yet, when a third of our country’s matrics fail, it is called a “remarkable achievement!” How pathetic of our education department to think that this is remarkable!

What makes much of this remarkable pass-rate even more pathetic, is that some subjects such as maths and science only require a 30% subject pass-rate! As Wilmot James of the DA wrote in his commentary on this issue:

“A 30%-pass is a low standard by any measure. It means that the work has simply not been mastered.

“Universities accept a 40% pass and, because it is still too low a mark by far, the better ones offering science and health degrees cherry-pick those with much higher passes...

“Last year’s mathematics and physical science matric results offer some clue as to the gravity of our problems. Less than half the learners passed mathematics and physical science at 30% last year. More than half the learners who sat for the examinations failed mathematics and science because they could not even get the lowly 30%.

”The pattern worsens if 40% is used as a cut-off point. In the case of mathematics, 47% passed when 30% is the barrier and 30% passed when it is 40%.”

One of the main reasons why so many pupils fail in South Africa’s education system, is that teachers, especially in our predominantly black schools, are either completely under-qualified or they are simply not doing their jobs! There are teachers that do not even have their own matric certificates, while others are simply not qualified as teachers. Further, many of these teachers are not doing their jobs; they arrive late at school, they leave school early on pay day, etc. One child from a black school was asked if the teacher strikes from 2010 affected his studies at all, and his reply was “No!” His teacher isn’t in class most of the time anyway!

Dear folks, that is education in South Africa! The education system in South Africa is broken, and it can only be solved if the bar is raised for the system as well as the pupils! Yet, I do not believe this will happen while the ANC is at the helm of education!

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