SA: Minister Motshekga: Don’t abandon your studies

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By More Matshediso – SAnews.gov.za

Pretoria – Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has encouraged grade 12 learners, who did not pass matric in 2014, not to abandon their studies.

Speaking after announcing the matric results on Monday evening, the Minister told learners that all was not lost and that they should explore the various options that are available. She urged learners to seek advice from their schools on what is best for them.

She said learners who opted to abandon their studies would likely live to regret the decision in the years to come.

“It is only with an acceptable level of education that we as a country can break the chains of poverty. The country needs you to succeed so that we can build a prosperous nation.

“You can only transform the future if you have the requisite skills and knowledge that will allow you to take your rightful place in society,” said the Minister.

The class of 2014 recorded a pass rate of 75.8%, down from 78.2% in 2013.

The Minister said the decrease in the overall pass rate was not only expected in light of the policy changes that directly affected the teaching and learning of the class of 2014, but it was also minor in relation to the historical gains achieved in the performance of learners in grade 12.

She said the year 2014 was a watershed as it marked the completion of the implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) throughout the education system.

Various experts also agreed that CAPS might have contributed to the decline in the overall pass rate.

“CAPS is the strengthening of the National Curriculum Statement and clearly specifies what should be taught, which topics should be covered per subject, grade, and per quarter of the school calendar year.

“It also provides guidelines on how assessments must be carried out, including adding more content to some subject such Mathematics and Business Studies,” said the Minister.

Bridging the gaps

The Minister said the education sector is on the right path of addressing quality and efficiency, as the first group of grade 11 learners, who were progressed without having met promotion requirements, wrote the matric exams.

“It is encouraging that some of these learners that were progressed have attained a NSC pass and some obtained Bachelor’s passes,” Minister Motshekga said.

She said it would be unwise to blame the under performance in some subjects on these learners.

The Minister said the phenomenon of progressing learners, who have not met promotion requirements, is not unique to South Africa, as it happens in countries like Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Korea and United Kingdom.

“These countries are pro-automatic progression instead of repetition. This approach has been found to be efficient.  We have carried out our first step in dealing with inefficiency. We need to strengthen our support programme for such learners,” the Minister said.

She said going forward, the education sector will work hard to sustain improvement in learner performance, enhance accountability at all levels of the system, put greater focus on basic functionality of schools and protect time for teaching and learning.

“We will also improve monitoring and support for teaching and learning,” the Minister said.