Mixed reaction to matric results

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pretoria - The release of the 2009 matric results has been met with mixed reaction from various sectors.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday announced a pass rate of 60.6 percent, a 2 percent decrease from the previous year's 62.5 percent.

The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said while the overall matric exam results were pleasing, poor results in gateway subjects like Maths and English must be flagged for future attention.

It said the failure of 217 355 pupils remained a concern and it was hoped they would take advantage of the chance to write supplementary exams later in the year.

Referring to difficulties with Maths, Science and English, Naptosa said a strategy should be put in place to ensure that suitably qualified teachers are appointed in these posts and that adequate support is given to develop teachers of these subjects.

The organisation added that lower performance in rural areas also remained an area of concern, with inadequately resourced schools and poor support for district officials.

It further commended the officials involved with managing the setting, printing and distribution of question papers must be commended for their hard work.

The South Africa Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) said overall the results still reflected the two economies - pupils from the working class and poor communities still experienced problems, clearly reflecting the informal and formal economies.

However, it welcomed the prompt release of the 2009 matric results, and that systems are now embedded both to prevent irregularities and to benchmark standards.

The Congress of the People's Youth Movement raised concerns regarding the drop in the pass rate, saying that it believed a lot could have been done to avoid it.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), meanwhile, said the results should serve as a wake-up call to government that urgent steps must be taken to address the critical shortcoming within the education system.

Motshekga, in announcing the results earlier today, conceded that she was disappointed with the 60.6 percent pass rate. The results "continue to suggest that we have not yet turned the corner in education".

"We have not yet reached the quality learning outcomes that we are striving for as a nation. The education system continues to be plagued by obvious weaknesses that act as barriers to the performance of our learners. We must continue to intensify our efforts to address these weaknesses."

This year, Motshekga said her department will strengthen its interventions to ensure that the class of 2010 shows a significant improvement.

She said the National Senior Certificate was an important indicator of the quality of the country's education system, adding that is why poor results cannot be afforded.