KZN commended for showing improvement

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pretoria - Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has commended KwaZulu-Natal for showing an improvement in the pass rate of 3.5 percent, up from 57.6 percent in 2008 to 61.1 percent in 2009.

According to 2009 matric results which were released on Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal was the only province in the country which recorded an increase in its final examination pass rate.

The Eastern Cape, which was previously known as one of the worst-performing provinces in the country, has stabilised at around 50 percent.

"This is encouraging... both these provinces are essentially rural in character with high rates of poverty, but both have shown that they have begun the turn around," said the minister.

The Western Cape, while showing a decline in its pass rate, performed the best overall. The province's 75.7 percent pass rate decreased by 2.7 percent from last year's 78.4 percent.

The worst performing province was Mpumalanga where 47.9 percent of matrics passed, representing a decline of 3.9 percent.

The pass rate in the Free State declined by 2.4 percent, while the North West declined by 0.5 percent. The pass rate in Limpopo declined by 5.4 percent and Gauteng's pass rate also declined by 4.6 percent.

The Northern Cape showed a staggering 11 percent decrease.

Motshekga expressed disappointment in the overall results of the provinces.

"These disappointing results indicate that we need to take urgent steps to address the performance of the system which impacts on the performance of our learners. As Umalusi has stated, we cannot compromise on the high standards that we aim to achieve.

"Indeed, it is through maintaining the standards of our examinations that we are able to assess the shortcomings in the quality of learning and teaching," said Motshekga.

She said the results also showed there was a need to improve the support to schools.

"We must acknowledge that there is poor teaching in many of our schools. Management in our schools is often weak and lacks leadership and commitment. Our systems are also often inefficient,' said Motshekga.

In 2010 the department will focus on strengthening interventions to ensure that the class of 2010 shows a significant improvement.

"Our provincial education department officials must support our schools by ensuring that textbooks and other teaching and learning materials are provided on time and that real teaching and learning are taking place in all our schools from the beginning of the school year."

The minister said she had taken note of the Report on the Implementation of the National Curriculum Statement, which had indicated the urgent need to improve the quality of teaching in schools in order to deliver on the curriculum.

Steps have been taken to implement some of the recommendations of the report to ensure that teachers and learners will be able to focus more on teaching and learning.