AfriForum: “Matric statistics show justifiable lack of confidence in public education”


AfriForum congratulates all matriculants who completed their school career in 2017 successfully.  Their achievements are the result of their hard work, as well as the dedication of teachers who maintained islands of success amidst numerous challenges in the South African education sector.  We salute them!

In the recent past an alleged continually improving matric pass rate is annually being celebrated.  This year is no exception.  According to Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, her organisation rather focuses on the group of learners who never even reached matric.

According to the statistics of the Department of Basic Education, 1 185 198 learners enrolled for Grade 1 in 2006.[i]  The figure mentioned today, however was 1 186 011 learners.[ii]

Of them, 29 569 were in so-called independent institutions, in other words, private schools.  However, 112 130 matriculants enrolled for the Independent Examination Board’s matric exam this year, of whom 98,76% passed.  The phenomenal growth in learners can on the one hand be ascribed to the recent increase in private education institutions, but on the other hand it bears witness to South Africans’ growing lack of confidence in the country’s public education system.

Instead of taking note of this tendency and trying to clone the best practices of these schools, Gauteng’s MEC of Education, Panyaza Lesufi, offers as sole solution that all schools in the country should be forced to write a single exam.  This proves the public sector’s total lack of insight into healthy education practices and an ideological subservience to a culture of mediocrity, which is handicapping success in all sectors in the country.

In 2006, the Grade 1s in public schools numbered 1 155 629.  As the Department itself has acknowledged today, less than two thirds of them have now passed matric.  Some obviously migrated to private institutions, but the rest have to face a bleak future without even the foundation of a matric certificate.

“It is imperative for the Department of Basic Education to accept responsibility for this sad state of affairs.  It should display leadership by finding solutions to problems, including a lack of mother-language education, ineffective curriculum options, the debilitating actions of some trade unions, insufficient training opportunities for teachers, questionable education bills, dysfunctional schools and discipline challenges,” Bailey stated.

“Until that happens, the annual celebration of a so-called improved matric pass rate is misdirected and is an unacceptably high number of South African youths being let down.”


[ii]. With recognition to Netwerk 24:

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