Pretoria - The country's education system needs to be intensified to ensure an improvement in the matric results, says President Jacob Zuma.
Speaking during an event to honour top matric pupils in the Northern Cape on Thursday, Zuma said government considered matric results as a measure of the effectiveness of the country's education system.
While expressing his disappointment at the 60.6 percent pass rate, Zuma said work had begun in earnest to address any loopholes that may be there in the system. "We need to intensify this work so that we see improvements in all these figures starting this year," he said.
At least eight provinces have registered declines in their pass rates with the exception of KwaZulu-Natal which saw an improving in its pass rate by 3.5 percent.
The pass rates in the Western Cape and North West province have declined by 2.7 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Results in the Eastern Cape have stabilised at around 50 percent, while those in the Free State declined by 2.4 percent. In addition, the pass rate in Limpopo declined by 5.4 percent.
"These results clearly underline the need to continue to pursue improvements in education with determination," said Zuma.
According to President, the results, however, are a clear indication of the rigour of the examinations.
"The standard of our question papers has been subjected to international scrutiny and benchmarked against equivalent international examinations and has been declared internationally comparable. These were not easy exams".
Meanwhile, Zuma has called for an investigation into the country's alarming drop out especially among pupils entering high school.
"We need to find out why we are losing large numbers of children in Grade 10, this very crucial stage of education. Why are they dropping out of school, what mechanisms should we put in place to keep them," he said.
He further said the achievement of parity in the distribution of resources was vital to quality learning and teaching.
"We still have schools that have to work with very little resources, while others have more than enough.
"Teacher training must also be emphasised to ensure the success of education endeavors in the coming years while the profession should be promoted as a career amongst pupils and reverse the decline in interest in teaching," Zuma said.