It is an open question as to how many of the 94 000 full-time matriculants made the cut in the 2016 final exams. The DA is hoping that we will break through the 60% barrier. This, however, will be a tough nut to crack giving the fact the second term (June 2016) provincial results stood at 44.9 % and in September 2016 improved to 48.3%. It will indeed be a miracle for the province to get into the lower sixties given the 56.8% matric pass rate achieved in 2015.
The 94 000 candidates who wrote the 2016 final exams, includes a total of 25% repeaters and progress learners – those who did not pass Grade 11. These repeaters and progress learners made an undertaking to the write their subjects in the form of modules, over a year or two-year period. Sadly, the learners and parents reneged on that agreement, which will have an adverse effect on the matric results.
The DA would like to see more learners passing their matric exams so they can enter the job market. However, the Eastern Cape Department of Education has failed our schools by not appointing enough teachers.
On 16 July 2016, there was a total of 2 800 teacher vacancies and 2 438 unplaced additional teachers in the province.
We hoped that the additional R1-billion allocated in the budget for the cost of employment for teacher salaries, up from R20.6-billion in 2015/16 to R21.6-billion in 2016/17, would have alleviated the plight of countless teachers and schools. Yet there are still many schools without teachers.
This is why there is such upheaval in schools: principals and school governing bodies have had to go an extra mile to find teachers and pay them from their own meagre funds while the department is under-spending by R166-miilion due to high rates of attrition and non-filling of teacher posts. The department is still not appointing teachers where it is most needed.
All this will have a negative effect on the matric results in this province. What is needed is a new format to determine the Post Provisioning Norms in our schools, to allow for more teachers to be appointed and fewer over-crowded classrooms.
The DA’s vision in the Eastern Cape is the provision of quality education that prepares learners for work and opportunities in a fast-changing global economy. We owe it to our children to put a teacher in every classroom, in every school. — Edmund van Vuuren MPL, Shadow MEC for Education