Class of 2016 are ‘re­ally just medi­ocre’

Noth­ing to crow about, say cleric

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

ARCH­BISHOP Emer­i­tus Njon­gonkulu Ndun­gane has de­scribed the much-pub­li­cised “in­crease” in the ma­tric pass rate as “ac­tu­ally quite poor”.

The ma­tric pass rate, an­nounced last Wed­nes­day, which in­cluded the re­sults of “pro­gressed learn­ers”, in­creased to 72.5 per­cent – up 1.8 per­cent­age points from 2015’s fig­ure of 70.7 per­cent.

The pro­gres­sion pol­icy means a pupil can fail only once, and af­ter re­peat­ing a year they are pushed through – even though they have not done well – so they re­main within the age group of their class grade.

More than 100 000 pro­gressed pupils passed, Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga said dur­ing the an­nounce­ment of the ma­tric re­sults. About 3 000 of th­ese man­aged to get bach­e­lor de­gree passes.

The pass rate in­crease has drawn wide­spread com­ment and, in some quar­ters, un­par­al­leled praise as a great achieve­ment.

How­ever, in a state­ment yes­ter­day, the Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus said: “Re­al­is­ti­cally though we should all un­der­stand that this rep­re­sents an in­crease of only 1.8 per­cent­age points. If we are hon­est we would recog­nise that this is ac­tu­ally quite poor, com­ing as it does off such a low base.”

He said what was even “more dis­turb­ing” was that the au­thor­i­ties failed to point out the dropout rate of pupils be­fore they reached their ma­tric year.

Ndun­gane said the fig­ures for 2012 to 2014 pro­vided an ap­pro­pri­ate il­lus­tra­tion. “In 2012, just over 1 mil­lion (1 103 495) learn­ers en­rolled in Grade 10. Two years later, how­ever, only 48.3 per­cent of those who had en­rolled in 2012 were reg­is­tered as ma­tric can­di­dates,” he said.

“Just more than a third, 36.6 per­cent, of the 2012 fig­ure passed ma­tric in 2014; 13.7 per­cent ob­tained bach­e­lor passes and 10.9 per­cent passed maths. “Sadly, if I were to quote the 1995 to 1997 fig­ures we would see that in two decades the sit­u­a­tion had wors­ened in all but one of th­ese cat­e­gories.”

The cleric said it was im­por­tant for South Africans, who work and strive to lay a plat­form for a pro­duc­tive so­ci­ety in which ev­ery­one has work and in which poverty is no longer a de­bil­i­tat­ing fac­tor, to recog­nise that last year’s ma­tric class “are re­ally just medi­ocre”. “Hav­ing said that, one must con­grat­u­late the suc­cess­ful ma­tric­u­lants who now stand on the cusp of a new era in their lives.”

He said he hoped those who seek work would suc­ceed and that those go­ing to univer­sity used the unique and priv­i­leged op­por­tu­nity to pre­pare them­selves prop­erly to serve a coun­try “in which we will all be proud to live”.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions too to the ed­u­ca­tors in the var­i­ous prov­inces who played their part in en­sur­ing the pass rate im­proved from 70.7 per­cent in 2015 to 72.5 per­cent last year (when in­clud­ing the re­sults of so-called pro­gressed pupils).

“It is an in­crease and there­fore to be wel­comed.”

DOUBT­FUL: Njon­gonkulu Ndun­gane

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