The Democratic Alliance says in a statement that the Department of Basic Education thinks that because the Matric pass rate has increased that this translates into a quality education. In fact they choose to be fooled into maintaining the “positive psyche” created by this ever-increasing matric pass rate, despite its decreasing quality.
This approach will not serve the children of South Africa, who need quality education above all else. The report by the task team is not a positive one. It highlights that international benchmarking has found South Africa’s education system wanting in many aspects.
The report finds fault:
– with the training and competence of teachers and of exam markers;
– with school-based assessments;
– with the process of examinations;
– with the low cognitive demand of matric exams;
– with language proficiency;
– with the low level of numeracy;
– with permitted subject choices; and
– with the high level of focus on the academic stream.
In summary, the current qualification does not adequately prepare young people for success in the labour market.
The report suggests increasing the rigour of the NSC. But the department lists reasons why the recommendations would be unworkable in practice. In fact there was no agreement with any suggestion that the standard of the NSC is too low. The Department argues that there is no empirical evidence for the proposed increase in the standard.
However, the task team report devoted many pages to analysis of the fitness for purpose of the current matric standards, and found them lacking. This is reflected in the low success rate at universities and the high youth unemployment rate.
The DA says that “urgent action must be taken to rescue the NSC from mediocrity”. They want Minister Motshekga to reconsider her department’s position on the recommendations of the Ministerial Task Team report.
If the Minister is at all serious about her commitment to basic education she should immediately:
– Introduce competency tests for teachers;
– Implement teacher training in response to the results of these competency tests;
– Increase the pass mark to at least 50% in four subjects in order to study at a university;
– All schools must offer maths and be properly resourced to do so; and
– Mathematical literacy should be precluded, by policy, from being a subject choice for learners taking subjects such as physical sciences, accounting or economics
The bar must be raised in the interest of all of South Africa’s children.