Class of 2014: Eastern Cape slightly improved pass rate not an achievement - DA

JANUARY 6, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday said that the slight improvement of the Eastern Cape matric pass rate from 64.9% in 2013 to 65.4% in 2014 cannot be celebrated as an achievement.

“This improvement of 0.5% is encouraging although not enough to be seen as an achievement.  The Eastern Cape is still one of two provinces under the 70% radar, and once again last in the class while other provinces have set the benchmark,” said DA Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren.

Out of a total of 66 935 that sat for the National SC examination for 2014, 43 777 passed.

“The Eastern Cape is still under performing with five of its 23 districts namely Mount Frere 55.1%, Fort Beaufort 56.9%, Butterworth 57.1%, Dutywa 57.9% and Queenstown 58% obtaining a pass rate of 50-59%,” van Vuuren said.

“We need to commend the Department of Education for having improved on its quality passes.  A total of 13 435 of the learners have achieved a Bachelor Pass which represents 20.1% of the total number of learners that sat for the 2014 exams.  This is an improvement of 1.1% on the 19% of the previous year.

“This quality of passes is an upward trajectory that should be acknowledged.   It is also obvious that the programmes implemented by the department, like Saturday- and Winter school classes as well as supplements in newspapers have yielded results, although not at the level as expected.”

He, however, said that what is most disconcerting is the dropout rate of learners within the system. 

“Initially 68 548 learners were enrolled in Grade 12 in 2014 but only 66 935 wrote the exams.  What happened to the other 1 613 learners that were in Grade 12 but did not sit the exams?

“In 2012, 139 323 learners were enrolled in Grade 10, with only 68 548 reaching Grade 12 in 2014, which represents a retention rate of only 49.2%.  This is unacceptable and we sincerely hope that “culling” did not take place in order to improve the results of individual schools.  These high repetitions must be prevented and we demand that the department put interventions in place that will streamline repetitions within our schools,” notes van Vuuren.

“The DA will most certainly ask some pertinent questions as to what happened to the other 70 775 learners that did not reach Grade 12 and the reasons for non-progression of these learners.

“More worrying however, is that 286 598 learners were enrolled in Grade 1 in 2003 in all public ordinary schools.  But only 68 548 made it to Grade 12 in 2014.  What happened to the other 218 050 learners.  How many of them are still in the system and what interventions have been taken or will be taken to improve the retention rate of all our learners?”

He said in order to achieve the goal of a 70% pass mark, the Eastern Cape Department of Education, needs to address:

  • More than 2000 vacancies that were not filled;
  • The problem with the appointment of teachers in Afrikaans and Afikaans/English duel medium schools;
  • The non-monitoring of curriculum the departmental officials due to a “lack of budget”;
  • The non-adherence to the seven-hour school rule, where in a number of cases teachers leave schools early or arrive late or abscond from their responsibilities;
  • The non-involvement of parents in their children’s scholastic career;
  • The lack of leadership in certain schools where no permanent appointment of school managers have been made;
  • The redeployment process that has not been completed;
  • Overcrowding of classes; and
  • In certain cases, the displacement of school managers without adequate reasons given.

He also challenged teachers to come to the party.

“For the Eastern Cape Province to succeed in the long term, educators must pay unforgiving and meticulous attention to the detail of educational quality. Principals should be curriculum leaders overseeing effective implementation of syllabi. They should be made to sign performance agreements; socio-economic conditions should not be a precursor for bad performances,” said van Vuuren.

“Despite these many challenges, the DA in the Eastern Cape acknowledges the need to celebrate with disadvantaged schools with limited infrastructure and resources, that managed to produce outstanding results.

“We acknowledge the reason to congratulate individual learners who, through sheer hard work and dedication have excelled, and we acknowledge those parents who sacrificed all to assist their children in getting the best education they could.”

He also applauded dedicated teachers and departmental officials that went that extra mile in assisting learners.

Read more: CLASS OF 2014: EASTERN CAPE COMES OUT LAST