According to the Department of Basic Education and Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, the Matric pass rate for 2020 is 76.2%.
While the Democratic Alliance (DA) congratulates every Matric from the class of 2020 who have passed after the incredible difficult year they had and commiserates with those who were not successful this time around, the Minister surely cannot hope to get away with this subterfuge.
The fact of the matter is that the real Matric pass rate is 44.1%, which is calculated by comparing the number of learners that enrolled in 2018, which was 997 872, to the number that wrote (578 468) and passed Matric in 2020, 440 702 learners. This group of Matrics started with 1 072 993 learners enrolled in 2009 as Grade 1s, which calculates to a real pass rate of 41%.
It is important to note that the Western Cape has the highest real pass rate at 55.8%, and that the national real pass rate has increased by 5.16% from 2019.
The serious concerns plaguing the South African basic education system will never be addressed if the Department continues to try and bury the truth of their ineptitude. This pass rate is disappointing and indicative of the chaotic nature of the 2020 academic year, coupled with the historic challenge of South Africa’s extraordinarily high drop-out rate.
2020 was an incredibly difficult academic year. Learners had to face incredible odds to obtain their education due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. They had to navigate distance learning on virtual platforms, home schooling, changing curriculums, and in many cases learners did not even have access to the necessary equipment to make distance learning possible.
For years, the South African education system has suffered from an overburdened curriculum that does not put the learners futures front of mind. Due to years of neglect of the educational system, many children have fallen out of the education system and have been forgotten. Many of them face the prospect of a lifetime of inequality, poverty and unemployment due to the curriculum being irrelevant to the job market and industry because it’s not producing the right skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation are not being prioritised. And with the economy crashing and burning as we speak, even hard work is not a golden ticket to success.
Schools do not have the infrastructure to cater to the needs and safety of their learners, with many mud and asbestos schools still in use. Gauteng spend R450 million on deep cleaning schools in the province and Eastern Cape wasted more than R500 million on overpriced PPE. Surely this money could have been used to the infrastructure.
Teachers struggle to get the correct equipment to teach and there is a serious lack of mathematics and science teachers, with many educators teaching these important subjects not qualified to do so. The Accounting, Mathematics and Physical Sciences pass rates have all decreased, with Physical Sciences declining by 10%.
These are not problems that arose with the Covid-19 pandemic. These problems have been ignored for years in favour of whitewashing matric results to mask the severe systemic failures of the Department of Basic Education.
Yet, in spite of many challenges, countless teachers stepped up and went the extra mile for their learners during this period. They have done wonders in an effort to ensure that each and every child still received a quality education, and the DA commends them for their service.
Unless the Minister and the Department urgently engage with stakeholders in order to address these failures, the true Matric pass rate will plummet, to the detriment of our children and all our futures. This generation deserves better than perpetual poverty.
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