Speech by Minister Debbie Schafer at the 2015 ABET Level 4 Awards Ceremony:
24 February 2015
Oaklands High School:
Good evening to you all. I am delighted to be here tonight at my first Adult Based Education and Training Awards Ceremony. Tonight we celebrate the achievements of our ABET learners and centres in the 2014 ABET Level 4 examinations.
We begin to learn even before we are born, and indeed our very survival, as individuals depends on our curiosity, our desire to explore things around us, and our ability to grasp new ideas and learn new skills.
The dictionary defines ‘Lifelong learning’ as the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.
Adult Education is identified as a priority in South Africa because of our apartheid past and plays a vital role in equipping adult learners with the necessary knowledge, skills and values in order to be functional in society and to contribute to the development of the community and the economy.
I have always been a firm believer in life-long learning and that you are never too old to learn and develop in life.
I am encouraged by the number of adults opting to further their education. A total of 5 259 candidates registered for one or more learning areas compared to 4 776 in 2013 and 3 987 in 2012. There were a total of 20 996 learning area entries, compared with 19 450 in November 2013 and 16 987 in November 2012.
This significant increase in the number of entries is encouraging and demonstrates that the WCED is increasing access to learning opportunities for adults.
The number of ABET Level 4 candidates is also gradually increasing since the inception of the new ABET Level 4 qualification in 2012.
In 2014, The Cape Winelands district had the highest number of candidates for the November 2014 examinations followed by the Metro Central Education district.
The most popular learning areas were Mathematical Literacy with 3 820 entries, English with 2 719, Travel and Tourism with 2 483 entries.
A total of 11 879 learning area entries were from females compared to 9 117 male entries.
The improvement in the turnout rate from 68.0% in 2013 to 71.2% in 2014 is an indication of improved retention of adult learners at CLCs.
I am very pleased to hear that the WCED achieved the highest number of learning area passes (12 611) in 2014 as compared to 8 463 learning area passes in 2013 and 7 677 passes in 2012. Candidates performed exceptionally well in most learning areas and the pass rate of 84.3% is significantly better than in the previous two years.
Many of the candidates here tonight have achieved outstanding results despite living and studying under the most difficult of circumstances.
With examinations such as this, which are in the area of adult basic education, adult learners are not subject to a compulsory and structured programme as we have in our public schools. Attendance is not compulsory or monitored and learners are required to do a significant amount of work by themselves because many of them have to prioritise other work or family commitments before their studies.
I would therefore like to applaud all candidates that passed, especially those that are here tonight, for their perseverance, self-discipline and courage in continuing their education and promoting lifelong learning.
Tonight I would like to give a warm welcome to our oldest candidate, 62 year old, Mboniswa Cutshwa, who achieved passes in four learning areas, as well as, 56 year old Zola Vena from Masiyile CLC, who is the oldest candidate obtaining a full GETC at one sitting. You are an inspiration to many adults out there who wish to continue their education.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank the individual ABET centres which have achieved great success. You have provided such encouragement, hope and opportunities to so many adult learners that pass through your doors each day.
Centre’s such as Witzenberg CLC which registered more than 60 candidates in 6 learning areas, with a pass rate of more than 90% in all 6 learning areas, or Wellington CLC, who increased the number of candidates writing the ABET examinations from 164 in 2012 to 503 in 2014, while achieving a pass rate of above 90% in 2014!
To the candidates, your hard work and dedication will pay off, and I sincerely hope that you realise just how proud this government, this department and the people of the Western Cape Province are of your achievements.
It is my hope that you will continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you by this government and that many doors will open to a brighter future as a result of their hard work and commitment.
Special thanks must go to our Educators and their support teams at the various centres for their hard work and commitment to education in the Western Cape.
By providing adult education and training opportunities we are making the lives of our adult citizens BETTER TOGETHER.
Thank you and congratulations again to you all.