Congratulations to WCED & Class of 2013

Cathy Labuschagne MPP

DA Western Cape Spokesperson for Education

As DA spokesperson on Education in the Western Cape I’d like to congratulate all those that have successfully matriculated. Your years of determination and hard work are worthy of much praise.

I also wish to applaud and thank every teacher, principal, parent and Western Cape Education Department (WCED) official who, through their own hard work, have contributed to the success of the Class of 2013.

This includes the role of the WCED in applying strict measures to those tasked with marking NSC papers. The Western Cape is the only province to have instituted competency testing for examination markers. The Western Cape’s NSC results are the most credible of the nine provinces.

Under the DA-led Western Cape, the WCED has set four key areas of focus which serve as criteria to measure and guide the Province in determining the success of the Province’s NSC results.

These areas were also key topics of discussion and attention over the past year in my oversight capacity as chair of the standing committee of education in the Provincial Parliament

The areas are 1) the numbers passing candidates 2) the numbers passing with quality results 3) reducing the number of underperforming schools 4) increasing the numbers of those passing in poorer communities.

The Province prioritises increasing the number of candidates passing and passing with quality results. Since 2009, the Western Cape has increased the number of candidates passing from 34 017 full-time candidates in 2009 to 36 992 in 2012. In 2013, the WCED set a target pass of 40 000, which was successfully achieved, with some 40 558 having passed, giving the Province an 85.1 per cent pass rate.

The WCED has also set out to increase the retention rate in the Western Cape, which is determined by comparing the number of learners enrolled in Grade 10 and the number of NSC passes of that matric class year. In 2009, just 36.9% of those enrolled in grade 10 went on to complete their NSC. In 2013, 52.1 per cent who enrolled two years prior, passed the NSC.

By focusing on retaining students enrolled in grade 10 the Province aims to reduce those from “dropping out” before completing the NSC.

Of the candidates that wrote and passed the NSC, 40.9 per cent achieved a ‘quality’ pass in the form of an access to a bachelor degree. In 2013, 3158 more matriculants will leave school with the possibility of pursuing a bachelor degree.

I’m proud to state that this is the highest in the country.

Quality passes are also determined by the performance in mathematics and physical science. In 2013, 12 216 candidates passed mathematics compared to 11 311 in the previous year.

In physical science, 7 995 students passed in 2012 increasing to 8 333 in 2013.

The WCED has also been successful in reducing the number of underperforming schools in the Western Cape. An underperforming school is one which does not achieve a pass rate of 60 per cent or more in the NSC.

In 2009, 85 schools were identified as underperforming. In 2013, that number has dropped to 23.

All eight schools districts in the Western Cape have over the last year recorded improved results and gone on to achieve a pass rate of across the board of above 80 per cent.

The WCED must be commended above all else, for their dauntless work in poorer communities where much of their resources and time have been invested.

In Khayelitsha, the pass rate in 21 schools in the area was 74.1 per cent, an increase of over 20 per cent in the last five years.

In Manenberg, where many schools were regrettably disrupted by protracted gang related activity last year, three schools, Manenberg Secondary, Silverstream High and Phoenix High managed to record improved results in passes and bachelor degree entrance.

I urge parents to take a proactive approach to their child’s education and ensure that their children are on time and at school each day.

To all the learners from grade R up to grade 12, I ask that you take your education seriously and work towards finishing your education. Learners who battle with curriculum work should not hesitate and fall behind, but rather seek support and guidance wherever possible.

I wish the 2013 Matrics all the best for the year ahead and hope that they celebrate in a responsible manner.