Matric 2013: Fransman must go back to school

Dr. Ivan Meyer

DA Western Cape Leader

Marius Fransman’s reaction to the Western Cape matric results are an embarrassment to him and his party.

By getting the numbers hopelessly wrong, he has revealed his own poor grasp of basic mathematics and statistics. Perhaps it is time for him to go back to school.

The fact is that the Western Cape has the lowest dropout rate in the country, not the highest.

Here are the dropout rates per province (between grade 10 and grade 12):

North West – 56.5%

Free State – 54.8%

Limpopo – 52.5%

Northern Cape – 50.8%

Eastern Cape – 50.2%

Mpumalanga – 46%

Gauteng – 43.2%

KZN – 42.1%

Western Cape – 35%

By ensuring that weak students exit the system before they write matric, it is possible to artificially inflate the pass rate. This is exactly what has happened – the provinces with the two highest pass rates, also had the highest dropout rates.

This is why the pass rate is a flawed measure of school performance. Far better indicators are:

  • The “real pass rate” which takes retention of learners into account (The Western Cape was highest in South Africa)
  • The number (not percentage) of matrics who wrote and passed compared to previous years (40 558 Western Cape candidates passed in 2013 – a new record for the province)
  • The number of learners qualifying for Bachelor Degree study (19 477 in the Western Cape – the highest in the country)
  • Maths and Science results (The Western Cape saw improvements in both subjects)
  • The number of underperforming schools (The Western Cape has reduced this number from 85 in 2009 to 23 in 2013).

The fact is that the DA government is turning education in the Western Cape around after six years of decline under the ANC.

In Khayelitsha, for example, the pass rate has improved by 20% since the DA came into office mid-way through 2009. And the retention rates have improved too.  Since 2009, the number of learners passing in Khayelitsha has increased by nearly 1 000 ­– from 1 538 candidates to 2 521.

These are the numbers that Mr Fransman does not want the public to know. They show conclusively that life is better in the Western Cape – for all its citizens – than it was under the ANC.