Only 1 in 3 learners starting Grade 1 in 2020 will make it to matric

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants to wish all those starting Grade 1 today a great schooling career.

Unfortunately, due to no fault of their own, statistics indicate that only one in three of our Grade 1 learners in 2020 will eventually pass – or make it to – matric.

When we look at the number of learners who started school in 2008 and those who passed matric in 2019, we find that only 37.6% of these learners pass matric. This means that statistically, 2 in 3 learners will therefore not make it to matric. The DA has remained at the forefront of fighting the many issues that cause this statistic, and we do so on behalf of every learner, as all our children deserve access to quality education.

Today, the DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi, has visited several schools in Bloemfontein where there are a number of Quintile 1 and 2 schools allegedly asking parents for a non-refundable application fee. This is illegal as these schools are meant to be free and not require application fees from parents. The Department of Education needs to be more vigilant and responsive to the plight of parents in public schools, and obstacles such as these are an indication of a failing school system.

It is a shame that the problems we face in our education system have not improved following 26 years of an ANC government. Year in and year out we are constantly calling the ANC to account for the ongoing problems that are not resolved adequately in order to make a meaningful impact on learners.

South African learners are resilient school-goers, constantly striving to overcome the many challenges posed by an education system fraught with problems. Our learners constantly choose to make the best they can of their time in school but the throughput for learners in Grade 1 to Grade 12 continues to drop, year in and year out since 2017.

Our teachers and learners face a lack of infrastructure, budget deficits, lack of resources, violence in schools and many more devastating circumstances hindering their access to education. Our citizens do not deserve any of these inefficiencies, and those responsible for them sit in Parliament with no regard for the suffering these issues cause.

The DA reiterates its call for the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, to step down because the education system of South Africa is in dire need of resuscitation. Our children deserve better, change is needed now more than ever. We cannot allow these problems to prevail any longer.