Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bigger Pass Rate But Work Still Needed in Rural Schools

Sthembiso Sithole

The streets of Soweto were packed this morning with the 2011 Matric class as they wanted to see whether they passed and completed their high schooling. Some were disappointed and many were happy with the outcomes as Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training has revealed that the pass rate has gone up from 2010 67,8% to 70,2% this time around.

Sowetan Nelisiwe Chopela from The Hill high school who passed with a University entry (A) encouraged those who didn’tpass to give it their best as they try again. “I know that is no easy but I hope that they will go and re-write their Matric. It is not the end of the world.”

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the support structures played a huge role in the progress made this year. “The class of 2011 has been a very prolific and productive. We are grateful to teachers, union and higher education for the support.”

The 2010 exams were disrupted by student and teacher protests which led to the controversy of some of the subjects’ marks being increased in order for many students to make it. This overloaded universities with students that were standing on queues at the beginning of the year. This time though there were no protests and everything went as planned which the South African Democratic Teachers Unions (SADTU) is happy about.

“2011 Matric exams started on 15 October and ended in December on a high note and all writing material was delivered on time”, says SADTU Secretary General Mungwena Maluleke.

Dean of the Faculty of Education in the University of Johannesburg, Professor Sarah Gravett, says the basic education system in South Africa needs to be carefully examined as there are still huge inequalities. “I don’t think one should look at the education system only through matric results. The provinces that are doing well are metropolitans and poor performing schools are in the rural areas.” 

Umalusi CEO, Dr. Mafu Rakometsi, hopes that the level of mathematics pass rate will improve. “We have to have more teachers that will specialise in mathematics and put more resources.”

After receiving their results many students will only now think of which steps to take for their future. Many of those who come from the rural areas will probably visit universities to check if there are still spaces available as it has been tradition in the past.

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