Western Cape sets education targets

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pretoria - The Western Cape Education Department has come up with specific targets to improve education outcomes in 2010.

Education MEC Donald Grant said on Tuesday the department's plans were aimed at attaining an 80 percent pass rate in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in 2010.

To achieve this, the department will need to get at least 36 000 NSC passes.

"This amounts to 2000 more passes than in 2009, therefore all high schools have been encouraged to contribute to the additional 2 000 passes and the districts have agreed on pro-rata minimum targets for their respective districts based on the number of passes in 2009.

"By 2014, we plan to have reduced this number to zero and we are determined to succeed," said Grant.

While the provincial Grade 12 pass rate remains highest in the country, it has decreased by almost 10 percent over the last five years. In 2009, the province achieved a 75.7 percent pass rate, with 31.9 percent learners qualifying for access to study for bachelor's degrees.

Particularly concerning, said Grant, was that the number of underperforming schools in the province increased from 74 in 2008 to 85 with 17 schools attaining a pass rate of under 40 percent.

In 2006, 36 schools were classified as underperforming and this figure increased to 54 in 2007, 74 in 2008 and 85 last year.

"While we realise that there is no quick fix in education, we believe that these targets are achievable with dedicated and targeted planning and support," Grant said.

Following the release of the 2009 examination results, provincial Superintendent-General of Education, Penny Vinjevold met with eight district directors to develop a detailed plan to improve the pass rate.

This included a comprehensive analysis of all schools writing the NSC, focusing on the number of learners passing and the pass rate of each school over the last three years.

A detailed analysis of each subject was also completed, with a specific focus on the subjects with high failure rates.