While Motshekga announced the matric pass rate for the class of 2018 was 78.2%, the Democratic Alliance has broken down the reality of South Africa’s latest matric pass rate – showing that only 37.6% of learners who were in grade 10 in 2016 actually went on to pass matric in 2018.
The DA’s shadow minister of education, Nomsa Marchesi, says learners who passed should be congratulated – but that it should not distract from the shocking truth facing the country. “The real matric pass rate is 37.6% if you include the number of 2016 Grade 10s who actually passed matric in 2018,” she said.
According to a report by BusinessTech.co.za the Free State and Gauteng education MECs were celebrating being the top two provinces in the department of education’s reported data, but Marchesi said “this was a slap in the face to the learners they failed to serve along the way”.
In Gauteng, 45% of its Grade 10s in 2016 didn’t write matric, while the Free State has the highest drop out in the country and the province has “a well-known reputation for ‘culling’, or intentionally keeping back learners to inflate pass marks”. This was confirmed by a Deputy Director-General of the Department of Basic Education in 2017.
MyBroadband.co.za also reports the matric pass rates should be much lower than reported. It says the “real” matric pass rate should take into account the total cohort of students who started school and would eventually become the matric class of 2018.
Looking at the number of learners enrolled in Grade 1 in 2007 – the group which would reach matric in 2018 – the total was 1,002,500.
With 512,700 full-time learners writing matric in 2018, and then 78.2% of these students passing, the “real” matric pass rates comes in at around 40%.
Equal Education also weighed in on the matter, stating that “learning backlogs that develop and deepen in the early years of schooling” are a major contributor to learners dropping out.
“Keeping learners in school and ensuring that they leave school with a meaningful qualification remains one of the key challenges in South Africa’s public education system,” it said.
“Particularly concerning is that approximately 12% of young people still do not even complete Grade 9.”
It is for this reason that Equal Education said the “throughput rate” of learners to matric must be considered alongside the matric pass rate.