Real matric pass rate is 55.3%

Issued by Baxolile (Bax) Nodada MP – DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education
18 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Baxolile (Bax) Nodada MP

The DA wishes to congratulate the 2023 matrics on passing their matric examinations. Most of these learners had to overcome great challenges in order to reach this achievement. We are very proud of them and wish them great success and happiness in their futures.

We also wish to thank the dedicated teachers and parents who went the extra mile for their support of these learners.

The DA does however dispute the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) pass rate of 82.9%. The real matric pass rate is only 55.3%, an increase from last year’s 54.6%.

The real matric pass rate is calculated by bringing into account the number of learners that dropped out and never made it to matric. While some learners pursue their matric through technical and vocational education and training (TVET) after grade 9, a large number drop out completely. To bring the TVET learners into account the DA calculates the real matric pass rate from the grade 10 cohort that ought to have completed matric. 345 626 learners dropped out between grade 10 in 2021 and grade 12 in 2023.

The real matric pass rate is an excellent indicator of not only Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her Department’s lack of success, but also of the country’s. This ANC government’s only focus seems to be quantity over quality, thinking that it is an improvement from previous years. This skewed focus on how many learners can be pushed through the system should be scrapped in favour of a focus on the quality of skills gained, so learners have a shot of being employable and bettering their circumstances.

Minister Motshekga cannot be further removed from the actual issues that faces the children in our public school system.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) revealed that 7.8 million people were unemployed in the third quarter of 2023. The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition was 41.2%. Furthermore, 3.3 million (32.7%) million young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education, or training (NEET). These are the young people that are meant to be working towards gaining the skills for successful economic participation by completing matric and then possibly moving to higher education institutions. Instead, their basic education has left them so hopeless and badly educated that they join the unemployment lines.

For the past 30 years, the ANC government has promised to eradicate the injustices of the past. This has not happened. Instead, generations of learners have been shunted from one ill-implemented curriculum to the next in schools with overcrowded classrooms, dangerous infrastructure like pit toilets and asbestos, and with too many teachers that cannot pass examinations for the subjects they teach.

Learners have to face these challenges after walking kilometers to school and often on empty stomachs when one or the other Departmental failure disrupts the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

Minister Motshekga has had 15 years to improve basic education in South Africa. Instead, her tenure has been marked by excuses and shifting deadlines, bowing to pressure from unions, and the stripping of schools’ rights with the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill.

Under Minister Motshekga, the ANC government has systematically stripped the quality of education. It is under her reign that 81% of grade 4 and 56% of grade 6 learners cannot read for meaning, grade 4 and 8 learners struggle with basic maths and science, and almost 40% of grade 10 pupils and more than 25% of grade 8s in the Free State failed their exams last year. It was under her watch that two provinces failed to provide learners with meals, while others used their meagre NSNP funds to stop other gaps created by Departmental failures, like the late delivery of learning and teaching support material (LTSM).

Minister Motshekga and her Department’s actions have made it clear that the ANC government is comfortable with keeping generations of children locked out of opportunity.

While the learners in the rest of the country has to gamble on the ANC placing their interests before those of their cadres, the DA-run Western Cape continues to find innovative and sustainable solutions to address challenges.

The #BackOnTrack programme to reverse learning losses for learners and training for teachers was very successful and will continue from February.

The Rapid School Build programme continues to expand with 10 new schools and 3 replacement schools being built this year, despite the budget cut of R716.4 million.

The Western Cape has the lowest dropout rate and leads in passes for Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The Western Cape also achieved a high number of distinctions and Bachelor’s passes.

The Bachelor’s passes of 40.9% compared to the 88.59% of candidates that wrote the Independent Examination Board (IEB) National Senior Certificate examinations is a great concern.

South Africa’s learners already have to overcome severe circumstances to reach matric. They deserve to have their efforts rewarded with a quality education that will ensure bright futures, not this pale imitation dished up by the ANC government.