Matric pass rate is misleading

The DA congratulates all matrics who passed the 2021’s NSC matric exams. This is the first matric cohort that experienced their full grade 11 and 12 years under the national lockdown conditions, which included school closures, rotational timetables, and constant changes to their schooling environments.

Despite the matric pass rate announced by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, is an inflated 76.4% that does not reflect the reality. The Department does not account for the number of learners who dropped out between grade 10 and matric, and the real pass rate might be much lower. The DA will study the detailed results and reveal the actual pass rate in due course.

We know that 897 163 learners wrote the examination, but the grade 10 enrolment in 2019 was 1 045 424. This means that at least 148 261 learners dropped out of the system and did not complete matric. The actual figure is much higher if we consider the students who wrote the examination but failed. The DA believes this is due to stringent lockdown regulations implemented by the Department. For these reasons, the DA is compiling court papers to bring an urgent interdict to direct schools to open fully. This policy is irrational and unjustifiable.

During the announcement, Motshekga painted an unrealistic picture of what is really happening on the ground. We have been experiencing a crisis in our education system year on year. This is clearly evident when considering the learner dropout rates in the statistics. Covid regulations for schools have only made matters worse, and it is clear by the results that the Minister should scrap the rotational timetable with immediate effect.

When looking at the DA-run Western Cape, the province has successfully managed the challenges within the sector. This is evident by the province coming out on top having the highest percentage of bachelor passes and distinctions.

The Minister must stop whitewashing the matric results in an attempt to mask the systematic failures of her department and rather implement innovative school retention strategies, do away with the rotational timetables, track learners who drop out, and accelerate the development of a curriculum that is relevant to the country’s economy. It is time to put our learners first and adequately prepare them for their future.