Matric 2016: Inequality in our education system a stain on our conscience

The DA congratulates all learners who performed well in their National Senior Certificate examinations, and we thank the many excellent and dedicated teachers who sacrifice so much to educate our nation’s children.

It is tempting to interpret the modest improvement in the matric pass rate (from 70.7% to 72.5%) as a sign that we are moving in the right direction, particularly after last year’s precipitous 5% drop.

But to do so would be to ignore the most significant aspect of the matric results, and that is the continued poor performance in the big three provinces of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, which obtained 59.3%, 62.5% and 66.4% respectively.

These three provinces, which comprises 54% of this year’s Matric learners, lagged far behind Mpumalanga (77.1%), the Northern Cape (78.7%), the North West (82.5%), Gauteng (85.1%), the Western Cape (87.7%) and the Free State (88.2%).

It is tragic that two decades after the end of Apartheid, a child’s scholastic success is still very much determined by the province they live in and which school they go to. This inequality of educational opportunity is a stain on our collective conscience.

It is no coincidence that the worst performing provinces in Matric 2016 were those where SADTU is most dominant. The provincial education departments in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal were all found by the Ministerial Task Team in its ‘jobs for cash’ report to have been captured by SADTU.

Unless Minister Motshekga deals decisively with SADTU, these provinces will remain perennial poor performers.

We are also concerned that mathematics achievement has flat lined. The pass rate for Mathematics is only 51.1% (49.1% in 2015), and the rate for Maths Literacy has dropped for the fifth year in a row to 71.3%.

It is still an open question whether the upward adjustments of the raw marks in mathematics, mathematical literacy and 26 other subjects led to an artificial inflation of the marks. We will be following up with the quality assurer, Umalusi, to make sure that the standardisation process was carried out correctly.

Lastly, we would like to commend the DA-governed Western Cape for its continued improvement across a range of indicators:

  • A pass rate of 85.9%, an increase of 1.2% from 2015
  • A bachelor pass rate of 40.9% of learners, the highest in the country
  • A mathematics pass rate of 77.2%, an increase of 2.3% from 2015

As we reflect on the 2016 matric results, let us be mindful of the huge inequalities that remain in our education system. We call on Minister Motshekga to act decisively against SADTU and all those who prevent us from redressing these inequalities.

5 YEARS LATER, WE'RE STILL WAITING FOR JUSTICE

The Farlam Commission Report was released over 2 years ago, but nothing has been done since then to provide closure on the greatest tragedy of our young democracy.


  • setzor

    A high pass rate, but low standards means nothing. If anything it only impairs these students. Believing that standards at university would also be so low