Yesterday the Eastern Cape celebrated breaking through the 70% Matric pass rate, but it doesn’t tell the full story.
What the Department did not mention is that of the 106,599 learners in the province who enrolled for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) at the beginning of the year, only 65,733 wrote their final exams.
The question that needs to be asked is what happened to the other 40,866 learners? Were they culled to boost the final pass rate?
If we look further back, there were 148,346 learners in the province who were registered for Grade 10 in 2016, which means 82,613 learners have fallen by the wayside.
Taking these learners into account, the real pass rate for the Eastern Cape is only 31,3% (Only 46,393 of the 148,346 passed).
The Department’s much toted turnaround strategy for the province appears to be to cast the learners who need the most help by the wayside and prevent them from writing.
Preventing learners from writing their final exams in the hollow pursuit of improving the overall pass rate misses the point entirely.
The Democratic Alliance acknowledges those matriculants who have, despite the odds, managed to successfully complete their matric. In fact, these matriculants, along with their teachers, deserve even more praise for their accomplishments, considering the challenges they have had to overcome.
There is no quick fix solution to the tragedy that the Eastern Cape Education system has become. The DA will shortly announce steps that can be taken to improve the overall results.
A good quality, timely matric qualification is essential for school leavers to further their education and training and secure jobs to put an end to the cycle of poverty. In the DA-run Western Cape, we continue to keep learners in school and maintain the lowest dropout rate in the country.
We will keep fighting for learners to have the best possible start to adult life, unlike the failing ANC which simply drops struggling learners to inflate their pass rate.