Is school sup­port bear­ing fruit?

Most un­der­per­form­ing schools have scored poorly for years

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BON­GANI NKOSI bon­gani.nkosi@inl.co.za

MOST of the schools that un­der­per­formed in the 2017 ma­tric re­sults have been un­der­achiev­ing for the past three years.

Re­peated un­der­per­for­mance raises ques­tions about whether the “in­ten­sive sup­port” Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga main­tained her depart­ment was pro­vid­ing to such schools is bear­ing fruit.

In the re­port ap­prais­ing per­for­mance of schools, Mot­shekga said the na­tional pass rate of 75.1% in­di­cated sup­port to un­der­achiev­ing schools was pay­ing off.

“This is a tes­ta­ment that govern­ment’s pro-poor poli­cies are work­ing,” she said.

In the same re­port, Mot­shekga said 597 schools did not achieve per­for­mance tar­gets. These schools “will be sup­ported to iden­tify the bar­ri­ers to at­tain­ing these tar­gets and to set new mile­stones in the aca­demic year that lies ahead”.

Based on this re­port, The Star can re­veal that al­most all of these 597 schools have been bat­tling to im­prove their per­for­mance ev­ery year.

Among them are 26 schools that have per­formed be­low 40% over the past five years, and the nine schools that achieved 0% passes in 2017.

Al­most 250 of the schools fail­ing to achieve the tar­get of 60% over a three-year pe­riod are in the Eastern Cape.

Nt­sizwa Se­nior, where only two matrics out of 91 passed in 2015, achieved a 22% pass rate last year when 59 pupils wrote. Its pass rate was 14.6% in 2016.

Out of 71 matrics who wrote at Zweliyandila High, only four passed. The school achieved 12.8% in 2016 and the same in 2015.

Ob­tain­ing 41.7% last year, Inzu­l­ul­wazi in KwaZulu-Na­tal im­proved from 33.3% in 2016 and 18.9% in 2015.

Kwamvim­bela ob­tained 39.1% in 2017, im­prov­ing from 16% of 2016.

From 0% in 2015 and 20.8% the fol­low­ing year, Manx­ele Sec­ondary moved to 20% last year.

Zin­qo­bele ob­tained 27.9% last year from 43 learn­ers who wrote. The num­ber of matrics fell from 129 in 2015, when it achieved just 2.3%.

Idun­dubala’s 7.7% pass rate out of 39 matrics in 2015 also ap­peared to have chased pupils away. The school scored 0% with its eight matrics last year.

Malebo Sec­ondary School was in this cat­e­gory of schools in Mpumalanga. It achieved a 46.9% pass rate last year, af­ter 38.6% in 2015 and 38.6% in 2016.

New Covenant Acad­emy in North West scored 45%, af­ter 23.1% in 2016 and 25% three years ago.

Re­gorogile Com­bined achieved 52.6% in 2017, up from 17.6% in 2016 and 50% in 2015.

Tong Com­pre­hen­sive went from 56.4% three years ago and 42.6% in 2016 to 35.4% last year.

Sed­ibeng Se­nior in Maahlashe vil­lage, Lim­popo, im­proved its per­for­mance to 53.6% from 35.3% in 2016 and 28.8% in 2015.

A con­tact in the school at­trib­uted this “still-un­sat­is­fac­tory im­prove­ment” to the fact that Sed­ibeng got two new teach­ers last year. “We’ve al­ways had a prob­lem with the com­ple­ment of teach­ers. Get­ting two more helped us a lot. We can im­prove some more with get­ting enough re­sources. We need things like pho­to­copiers and com­put­ers.”

Pro­fes­sor Sarah Gravett, ex­ec­u­tive dean of the Uni­ver­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg’s ed­u­ca­tion fac­ulty, told The Star the depart­ment’s in­ter­ven­tion was not al­ways a panacea for many of the schools.

“It could be that there were in­ter­ven­tions in those schools and for some rea­sons they didn’t work, or that the depart­ment did not give those schools suf­fi­cient sup­port,” she said.

“It could also be that due to ru­ral­ity, the depart­ment can’t get to those schools suf­fi­ciently to give them sup­port be­cause they have to travel long dis­tances. All of that plays a role.”

Many ru­ral schools fell vic­tim to hav­ing in­suf­fi­cient teach­ers, Gravett said.

“Some of these schools are small with only a few ma­tric­u­lants, and there it means the lim­ited num­ber of teach­ers must teach all the sub­jects.”

On the other hand, man­age­ment in un­der­achiev­ing schools could be found want­ing. “Good schools usu­ally also have good lead­er­ship,” Gravett said.

Mug­wena Maluleke, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers Union, said learn­ers in ru­ral ar­eas needed ex­tra sup­port, say­ing many had to deal with ab­sent par­ents. He called for the em­ploy­ment of as­sis­tant teach­ers in ru­ral schools.

@Bon­ganiNkosi87

597 schools did not achieve per­for­mance tar­gets

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