Class of 2016 are ‘really just mediocre’
Nothing to crow about, say cleric
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