The Eastern Cape’s real matric pass rate is just 47,4%, as the final result of 73% – announced by Education MEC Fundile Gade – does not take into account the high dropout rate between grade 10 and 12.
Of the 140 936 learners who started their senior years together in Grade 10, only 47,4% have secured a matric pass. There were 49 436 learners who dropped out. That’s a dropout rate of 35,1%.
The Eastern Cape matric class of 2021 must be praised for their tenacity and ability to overcome some of the toughest hurdles of recent years.
Despite major disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, these brave learners have put their heads down and delivered outstanding results.
Unfortunately, not all of the learners who started this journey together in Grade 1 twelve years ago, were able to make it to matric.
MEC Gade does not want to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of learners who have been failed by the province’s education system.
In fact, less than a third of learners enrolled in grade 1 in 2009 passed their matric exams. Only 66 770 learners of the 210 507 learners who started this journey, made it.
That leaves 119 007 learners who should have been part of the 2021 class, that have simply disappeared from our system.
These high dropout rates could in part be attributed to overcrowding, lack of appropriate sanitation and infrastructure, lack of sufficient scholar transport and insufficient qualified teachers to teach critical subjects.
Sadly, there is no evidence that the ECDoE has made any efforts to track these learners, to reach out to them and understand why they dropped out, or to work to bring them back into the system.
Last year, the Democratic Alliance tabled a motion in the Legislature to compel the ECDoE to track learners that have dropped out, assess the specific causes for the learners leaving school, and provide the necessary interventions, alongside other Departments such as Social Development, to reintegrate these learners.
This motion was rejected by the ANC, but we will be retabling this motion and call upon the ANC to show that they actually care about what happens to learners who have dropped out.
We will never be able to address the rising youth unemployment in this province, if we do not first address the systemic failures within the ECDoE.