KwaZulu-Natal did not realise its target of an 80% matric pass rate, achieving 77.6% with a drop of 3.7% from 2019, yet the number of learners who passed and the number of bachelor passes obtained rose, indicating an improvement in the quality of teaching.
However, these figures belied the true state of education in the province and the pass mark did not reflect the real picture on the ground DA MPL and spokesperson on education, Dr Imaran Keeka, said on Tuesday.
Entire matric class of 2021 should be considered
Keeka said the true state of education could only be viewed by considering the entire cohort of potential matriculants, including those who started school in Grade 1 twelve years ago, or the class of 2020 that began Grade 10 in 2018.
“The DA has done the numbers and KZN’s real pass rate is 45.31%,” Keeka said.
Keeka said this was the figure education MEC Kwazi Mshengu and his department should acknowledge if they wanted to have any hope of turning the province’s education system around.
“KZN’s education system will never overcome the current perpetuated inequalities and poor quality of education if the MEC and the Premier continue to exist in a bubble. Nor will it be achieved if we continue to blindly believe the many promises made by the Premier today when the reality is that to achieve such goals requires money,” he said.
“This means ensuring that money stays in the state coffers and not in the pockets of the connected. This requires accountability,” he said.
KZN schools need water and lights
Keeka described the province’s education system as “cruel” and perpetuating inequality.
“While pockets of excellence must be celebrated, the realities are those of a system that churns out people who continue to be victims of the cycle of inequality and lack of quality education,” he said.
“Then there is the chronic under-funding of agricultural schools in KZN, not to mention the challenges of keeping up with the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as coding and robotics. This while the DoE still first needs to keep the lights on, fix the roofs and then install access to the internet. The vast majority of KZN schools are in the dark and without water,” Keeka said.
He said the reality was that most matriculants would end up joining the country’s unemployment lines after passing matric.
“And if they cannot find a job within the first three years of looking for one, then our research tells us they will not find a job. To those learners who did not make it – there is always another opportunity through re-writing your exams later in the year,” he said.