Of the 26 schools listed by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as having achieved a matric pass rate of below 40% for the past 5 years, 13 were on the same list last year and a few for a number of years before that.
Section 58B of the South African Schools Act states that the Minister must ensure that provincial MECs for Education account for their actions to improve performance at these schools. They are required to report to the Minister within three months as to how they will improve the performance of chronically underperforming schools.
The Minister bears ultimate responsibility for ensuring our children receive quality basic education. The failure to ensure that effective plans are implemented to improve pass rates, therefore, falls squarely at her feet.
The DA will, therefore, write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, today to request an urgent briefing from Minister Angie Motshekga on these long-term underperforming schools.
At this briefing, the Minister must explain why provincial MECs have not been held accountable for the consistently poor matric pass rates in these schools. She must also provide the Committee with a detailed analysis of why any plans that have been implemented have failed and precisely what she plans to do to ensure that the dismal pass rates are improved.
Two schools, Leriana Senior Secondary and Mahlaba Secondary, both from Limpopo, have in fact achieved below 40% for the past 9 years. Since 2009 – when Minister Motshekga was appointed – the highest pass rate Leriana Secondary has achieved was 38.5% (2011). This year, only 13 of the 72 candidates writing at the school passed their exams. At Mahlaba Secondary, the pass rate for 2017 has dropped to just 5% for 2017.
The below table list the underperforming schools as well as the number of years they have failed to achieve a pass rate of more than 40%:
|Province||School||Number of years below 40%|
|Limpopo||LERIANA SENIOR SECONDARY||9|
|Limpopo||HAGGAI PRIVATE COMBINED||7|
|KwaZulu-Natal||DUMAPHANSI JUNIOR SECONDARY||6|
|KwaZulu-Natal||MADLANGA JUNIOR SECONDARY||5|
It is also disturbing that 7 of the schools on this list have seen their pass rate decline after being on the list last year.
Minister Motshekga can no longer stick her head in the sand – she must fulfil her mandate of ensuring quality basic education for all our children, especially at these underperforming schools.