South Africa’s Department of Basic Education has refuted DA’s claim that the real 2016 matric pass rate was 42.7% and not 76.2%.
It was last week that the Democratic Alliance party demanded for investigations into the ‘culling’ of learners to inflate the matric pass rate.
The opposition party indicated that a close analysis of the 2016 matric results revealed a very high drop-out rate.
That, it said, led to the speculation that some learners may have been ‘culled’ to inflate the 2016 matric pass rate.
The party offered some statistical analysis and with that, asserted that “the Free State’s claim to be the best performing province (with a pass rate of 88,2% compared with the Western Cape’s 86,0%) is misleading.
Reacting, the Department of Basic Education has dismissed DA’s claims as “ridiculous and disappointing.”
Contrary to DA’s believe that schools ensured fewer weaker learners write the matric exams in order to push up their pass rate, Basic Education asserted that it did the opposite by progressing learners who had failed in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase more than once.
“…We pushed an additional 65 673 learners through the system who sat for the November examinations at the risk of a drop in the percentage.
“The progressed learner policy contradicts (DA’s) claims sharply… We reject (their) assertion that learners were culled.
The fact of the matter is that we have spent resources towards a comprehensive learner support programme implemented countrywide,” stated the department.
Aside that, the department pointed-out that the essence of the Grade 12 examination wasn’t to measure progress in the system as a whole or even in individual schools.
“The main purpose of these examinations is to provide learners with an exit qualification. This is our main objective as the DBE.
While we do like to register progress and are encouraged when we see the fruits of our hard work reflecting in the results, the main objective is always to try to get learners to leave the system with a qualification,” Basic Education added.
Nonetheless, the department acknowledged that about 30% of learners do dropout between Grade 10 and 12.
That it said, is caused by varying factors like socio-economic issues, youth criminality, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, attending alternative education institutions, employment, and frustration of continued grade repetition.
“As a result, we have put a number of interventions in place to counter these. The boldest yet is the progression policy, which is the exact opposite of the DA’s ridiculous assertions,” the department affirmed.