It was revealed in parliament, when Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga answered a question posed by the Democratic Alliance (DA), that a system introduced to allow struggling matric pupils an opportunity to complete their exams over two years has produced only a 7.1% pass rate.
Out of 88,828 participants, only 6,354 (or 7.1%) passed. This is less even than the number of pupils who didn’t even show up to write the exams – 9,007. The Multiple Examination Opportunities (MOE) system will be discontinued from next year, and it’s easy to see why.
DA MP Nomsa Marchesi wrote a press release saying “experts are of the opinion that the department of basic education (DBE) failed to provide” the MOE learners with “the necessary support”.
“The numbers provided by the minister clearly prove this point.
“It seems the DBE implemented the programme but did not set proper checks and balances that would have ensured effective execution. This is a major indictment on the DBE as many of these learners simply fall off the radar without formally completing their academic careers.
“The department refuses to label the 9,007 learners who did not complete their exams as ‘dropouts’, as the DBE argues that these learners might return to write the remaining subjects in subsequent examinations.
“However, the DA is of the view that the department’s refusal is based on its desire to create a false impression of an improved matric pass rate and not because it believes that these students will return.
“Our experience tells us that these candidates never go on to actually complete their remaining exams. When the DA asked the basic education director-general earlier this year how many of these learners actually finished their second batch of exams – he simply could not tell us.
“South Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world and the DBE has failed to equip our youth with the necessary skills to break the cycle of poverty.
“The department’s failure to properly execute the MEO programme has no doubt done immeasurable damage to the future of these young people. For many matriculants, their matric certificate is an important stepping stone towards finding employment and accessing opportunities.
“South African learners deserve the highest degree of commitment from the department of education. The DA will strive to ensure that learners get the best quality matric in the expected time frame so that they can start their journey into further education and employment on time and in good stead,” Marchesi concluded.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)