Another number jumble occured last week at the reveal of the 2019 matric results. The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, was delivering a vital part of her speech when she turned into a comedienne. Instead of saying 1.763 million, the numbers came out as: “1.1 million 763 million.” She quickly corrected herself and enjoyed a chuckle with the crowd.
In her speech titled: “LAST DECADE OF THE NDP 2030 – LET’S GROW SOUTH AFRICA TOGETHER”, she spoke about the importance of education in South Africa and how the time is now to find permanent solutions to change the education and training system. These were some of the priorities mentioned:
- improving the foundational skills of numeracy and literary, which should be underpinned by a Reading Revolution;
- ramping up Early Childhood Development (ECD), which includes the urgent implementation of two-year of ECD before Grade 1, and the migration of 0-4-year-olds from the Department of Social Development to Department of Basic Education. The DBE is cooperating with the Departments of Social Development, Health, as well as Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to develop and comprehensive and integrated Framework for ECD, which will be launched soon.
- the immediate implementation of a curriculum with skills and competencies for a changing world in all public schools, particularly the Three-Stream Curriculum Model, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Entrepreneurship, Schools of Specialisation, Decolonisation of the Curriculum, amongst others;
- dealing decisively with the quality and efficiency through the implementation of standardised assessments at various exit points of the system at Grades 3, 6 and 9 and offer the General Education Certificate (GEC) before the Grade 12 exit qualification to direct learners through different pathways and introduce multiple qualifications and certification;
- completing an Integrated Infrastructure Development Plan and the Agency, informed by infrastructure delivery and regular maintenance as well as resourcing;
- working with Sports and Recreation, Arts and Culture, Health, and South African Police Service to teach and promote social cohesion, health, and school safety and
- in line with our commitment towards an inclusive education and ensuring that no child is left behind, the Sector needs to continue with its work to improve and strengthen education provisions of learners with special education needs (LSEN).
She continued by congratulating the Class of 2019 with their results and also spoke about the growth the country has made in the last few years.
Minister Motshekga said: “Of the 34 498 progressed learners, who wrote the requisite seven subjects during the 2019 NSC examinations, 23 485 passed; which represents 68.1% of progressed learners, who wrote all seven subjects during the 2019 NSC examinations, and 5.7% of all learners, who passed the 2019 NSC examinations. 3 912 of the progressed learners, who passed, achieved Bachelor passes; 10 704 obtained Diploma passes; 8 854 obtained Higher Certificate passes and 13 obtained NSC passes. A total of 2 136 distinctions were attained by progressed learners, including distinctions in critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science. The significance of these achievements is that the 23 485 progressed learners, who passed the 2019 NSC examinations – the would-be-high-school repeaters and dropouts if they were not progressed, now have a golden opportunity to access either higher education institutions, TVET Colleges, and other skills development institutions.”
She also mentioned the achievements of the LSEN sector and said that 2576 learners with special education needs wrote their NSC examinations. It was a proud moment when she announced that there were 1277 distinctions achieved by these learners.
The Class of 2019 outperformed previous years’ classes by ensuring the pass rate has improved from 60% in 2009 to a whopping 82.3% pass rate in 2019. This is a 2.9% improvement from 2018’s 79.4%. Wherein Mpumalanga achieved 80.3%, a 1.4% improvement from the 2018 academic year.
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On Wednesday, 8 January the Mpumalanga Top 10 and best performing learners were announced at Graceland Hotel, Casino and Country Club. This day was also the ANC’s 108-year birthday celebration.
The lavish event was attended by Mr Jackson Mthembu, currently serving as Minister in the Presidency, Mr Bonakele Majuba, MEC for Education in Mpumalanga, Mrs LH Moyane, Deputy Director General: Curriculum, Mr JR Nkosi, Acting Head: Education, Mr Busi Sheba, speaker of the Mpumalanga Provincial legislature, the executive council, chief whip of the ANC, members of parliament, traditional leaders, Mayor Thandi Nxgonono, Sasol’s senior vice president, Mr Simon Baloyi, media and the top achieving students.
The day was opened with our National Anthem after which programme director, Mr JR Nkosi, Acting Head of Education in Mpumalanga, welcomed everyone and announced the speakers of the day.
The theme of the event seemed to be surrounding the 25 years of freedom and how ANC-led government has improved the country. One of the speakers said that the results that were achieved in last year’s NSC exams was the highest ever and could never be achieved by the apartheid government.
It was said: “The class of 2019 wrote at the apex of the celebrations and review of a 25-year journey that this beautiful country and province has travelled and traverse. These results therefore represent a good narrative compared to where we were 25-years ago. They provide a reflection of outstanding progress made and the epitome of gains recorded within the education realm. They also constitute a solid foundation to usher.”
The Mpumalanga numbers that were given that day, was later disputed by Jane Sithole: MPL – DA Mpumalanga spokesperson on Education in a press release: “The class of 2019 got an overall pass rate of 80.3%, an improvement of 1.3 % from the 79% it received in the 2018 academic year. However, Mpumalanga’s real pass rate stands at 37%, taking into consideration that in 2017 the Province had 94 103 learners in Grade 10 and only 34 995 of those passed the 2019 Matric Exam. What happened to the other 59 108?
It means these 59 108 young uneducated people will be entering the competitive job market this year. The ANC government has failed these young people, many of whom will and are languishing at home and on the streets.
None the less, the DA would like to congratulate the class of 2019 and their teachers for obtaining the official pass rate of 80.3%, an improvement of 1.3 % from the 79% it received in the 2018 academic year. This improvement is despite challenges learners were faced with in their learning environment. There were burning of schools, lack of sanitation, strikes and load-shedding.”
Jane Sithole asked a valid question in her statement: “What happened to the other 59108?”
Despite all the political agendas, the students were celebrated that day and they received a bursary from the Department of Education, some received R15 000, kettles, microwaves etc and the top performing learner received a brand-new Toyota Aygo and petrol money.
The Top 10 students in Mpumalanga were announced and Mpumalanga Province also boasted that the number 1 learner for quantile 4 schools hails form our beautiful province, Greta Kurpershoek from Hoërskool Middelburg.
Well done to all the students and congratulations on all their hard work that paid off! – Ané Prinsloo