By Khume Ramulifho MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC of Education:
During a Portfolio Committee meeting in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the Gauteng Education Department admitted to withholding learner drop-out rates from its 2014/15 annual report in an attempt to avoid negative publicity.
The sanitised version left out the high amount of learners dropping out of Gauteng schools. The drop-out rate is an indicator to show efficiency in the education system. Last year’s figure stood at a whopping 70 000 as stated in the department’s 2013/14 annual report.
In May this year, the DA tabled a motion in the legislature to track all learners to avoid the worryingly high drop-out rate. But Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, denied the fact that school children were dropping-out of the education system in disturbingly high numbers and voted against the DA’s motion.
This sanitised version of the Annual Report is indicative of an ANC-run department trying to hide the facts around their significant failures. The DA is more concerned with drop-out rate at primary level as the learners are too young to be absorbed into the labour market.
The DA has submitted questions to get a breakdown of the 2014 drop-out rate and will be asking the department to urgently intervene. There is a need to ensure that the province increases its retention rate, such as in the DA-run Western Cape Province.
Retention of learners in secondary and primary school level is key to a quality pass rate and something which should be given serious consideration when assessing the province’s matric success this year.