Thuli Madonsela feels that announcing the outcome for the matric year only invites political pressure to 'prioritise form over substance'
Thuli Madonsela the former public protector has condemned the annual matric result announcement, saying it should not be done at all.
The Minister of Basic Education will announce the examination results for this years class later this evening, even though not only the former public protector but Equal Education oppose the announcement.
“I am concerned that the lowering of the pass mark to below the universal 50% was in response to the political pressure to appear achieving,” Madonsela explained.
Equal Education agrees, saying that the annual announcement was a 'misleading fanfare' that gave a poor indication of the state of the basic education system.
“A narrow preoccupation with matric results also limits the scope of important conversations that should be had about basic education, not only at this time of the year, but consistently.
“This was particularly evident when the announcement of a 75.1% matric pass rate for 2017 followed the release of the devastating results of an international reading study – that 78% of Grade 4 learners in our country cannot read for meaning, in any language,” Equal Education said.
Despite these comments, Equal Education says that the situation is not entirely hopeless.
“Access rates to early childhood education are also improving, and the increase in matric qualifications awarded each year is exceeding population growth. Passing matric is a tremendous achievement for each individual learner, and we commend the diligence and perseverance of the Class of 2018, their teachers, and their families.”
“A look at the throughput rate suggests that the pass rate has actually been declining and ranges between 41% and 37%. Without access to more detailed data, this metric unfortunately remains rather crude – it is affected by learners who repeat grades or leave school to attend technical and vocational education training (TVET) colleges.”
When all these contributing factors are taken into account, the department feels that the accurate pass rate has remained just over 50% for the last few years.
“This annual announcement, based on the traditional pass rate, not only fails to consider learner dropout rates, it also ignores the immense contextual disparities between rural and urban provinces.
“The provinces that reflected the largest improvements in their 2017 pass rates (Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal), were also the provinces with the biggest decrease in learners who wrote the matric exams.”
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