DA deputy shadow minister of basic education, Nomsa Marchesi, has congratulated South Africa’s matric class of 2017, but in the same breath, has criticised the results for not being a true reflection of the ‘real’ pass rate.
“While the pass rate of 75.1% may seem satisfactory, basic education minister Angie Motshekga has not sufficiently addressed the ‘real’ pass rate – how many Grade 10s from two years ago have passed matric – and the unacceptably high figure of children who have dropped out of school,” Marchesi said.
The DA said that 41% of the learners who had enrolled in Grade 10 in 2015 did not enlisted for matric last year. This means that nearly half of Grade 10 learners are dropping out of or getting stuck in the system – delaying their entry into post-school education and the job market, it said.
“The 2017 national matric pass rate for candidates who wrote the exams was 75.1%, while the ‘real’ pass rate – the number of Grade 10s from 2015 who passed matric 2017 – was only 37.3%.”
This is cause for serious concern, rather than celebration, Marchesi said.
“It is clear that the schooling system is failing our learners not just in matric, but long before they reach the final years of school.”
“South Africa is among the worst performers in terms of education internationally, having been placed last in Grade 8 Science and second-last place in Maths out of 39 countries for the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015,” she said.
The total number of candidates, who registered for the November 2017 NSC examinations, was 802,431; comprising 629,155 full-time candidates, and 173,276 part-time candidates. Of these candidates, 534,484 full-time candidates, and 117,223 part-time candidates, wrote the 2017 NSC examinations.
A total of 153,610 candidates achieved Bachelor passes (equivalent to 28.7%); 161,333 passed with a Diploma (equivalent to 30.2%); 86,265 passed with Higher Certificates (equivalent to 16.1%) and 99 passed with a National Senior Certificate.
In the 12 key subjects – which include Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science, among others – the total number of distinctions stands at 62,154, a decline of 4.6% from 2016.
Marchesi also cited the recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies (PIRLS) 2016 study which saw South Africa place last in Grade 4 reading skills out of 50 countries. The study revealed that 78% of South African Grade 4 learners are illiterate.