Gauteng Premier David Makhura has attributed the province’s clinical performance in the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam results to a system-wide improvement undertaken by the provincial government.
These interventions, he said, were not just educational.
A beaming Makhura made the remarks at the announcement of the Gauteng Matric Results in Pretoria on Friday.
“We have a R45 billion budget on basic education. Basic education is the top priority, it’s number one on our provincial budget. So, how are we spending this money? Because people can say it’s the top priority but the money is spent elsewhere (sic),” he said.
The province annually spends R1 billion on learner transport for 110 000 pupils living more than five kilometres away from schools.
Makhura also revealed that Gauteng spends R2.5 billion to ensure that 1.4 million learners receive meals every day in school.
Over R2 billion is spent annually on textbooks, stationery, school furniture and other learner support material.
“We spent over R200 million on teacher development and support to make sure that there is no teacher left behind on development. We also spent on R160 million on improving Grade 12s.
“Every school counts in our province. The greatest effort is on township schools because until children from the townships in this urban province can get the best education, we can’t say we are winning.
“We measure ourselves with the townships. How are schools in townships performing? We have done all those things but we have also invested a lot as a province. We have built 335 new schools in Gauteng since 1994. All those are system-wide interventions,” he said.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said interventions such as the ICT-based smart classroom had also contributed to the province’s success.
“We were under pressure. We were told this is a waste of money and that there was no way we would improve township schools using technology. We are proud to announce to society that the school we launched this ICT project, Boitumelo Secondary School in Tembisa, this school’s pass rate was around 64%. Today this school is standing at 94%.
“All our township schools have made sure that this is a performance we can all be proud of. We have fulfilled our mandate of one classroom, one smart board; one teacher, one laptop; one learner, one tablet,” Lesufi said.
Hoerskool Garsfontein, Hoerskool Waterkloof and Hoerskool Noordhuewel were at the ceremony revealed as the province’s best performing schools.
At the awards ceremony, Lesufi announced that all the province’s best performing learners and every no fee paying school’s top three would receive four-year bursaries to pursue degrees of their choice.
He saluted learners, teachers, school governing bodies and parents for their role.
“The class of 2018 has demonstrated our commitment to ensure that we are not only the best but we must count on those who make these results possible. These results represent what we have been aiming for for many years, not only to be number one but to produce quality results that will make everyone proud — most importantly, our township schools,” he said.
All 15 Gauteng Education Department districts were in the country’s top 20 best performing schools.
“All of them are in the top 20 and there is not one of them who achieved below 81%,” he said.
During the ceremony, Lesufi said the 2018 statistics revealed that the gap between no-fee paying and paying schools was narrowing, saying the gap had been reduced from 34% to 3.9%.
“This means no matter where you are in Gauteng, whether in the township or in an urban area, you stand a good chance of obtaining a bachelor pass,” he said.
Regarding the much criticised 30% pass mark, the MEC said of the province’s 84 000 matric learners that passed last year’s exams, only nine learners passed with 30%. He also announced that not a single Gauteng school had a between zero and 50% pass rate, saying only three schools obtained a less than 70% pass rate.
He said this demonstrated that the quality passes from the province’s township schools are making things possible for the province.
Mudzingwa Tinotenda Christine was revealed as the province’s best performing learner for obtaining:
English Home Language: 290 points
Afrikaans Second Additional Language: 285
Physical Science: 296
Life Sciences: 292
Information Technology: 292
Life Orientation: 286