By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Spokesperson on Education:
The DA congratulates all successful Mpumalanga matriculants for the 2015 academic year, despite the Province seeing an overall decrease in the matric pass rate from 79% last year to 78.6% this year. It is also a sad reality that the mathematic pass rate in Mpumalanga has declined.
A decreasing pass rate is a bitter pill to swallow for thousands of matric learners with high hopes for their futures. The trend of decreasing pass rates in ANC-governed provinces is alarming, and deeply concerning.
The DA-governed Western Cape achieved an overall pass rate of 84.7%, the highest in the country, and an increase of 2.5% from 2014. It is the only province to have improved its pass rate from last year, due to a commitment to quality education from the DA government. The Western Cape is also the only province where 100% of matriculants who passed achieved tertiary education passes.
The DA congratulates Ehlanzeni District for achieving an 81.6% pass rate making it the top performing District in the province.
We once again congratulate Hoërskool Nelspruit for being the best performing school in the province for the fourth consecutive year. The school achieved an astounding 432 distinctions and 213 Bachelor passes. We congratulate the principal, Dr Swanepoel and his entire team for their hard work and continued dedication.
It is however concerning that, despite MEC Reginah Mhaule repeatedly committing herself to supporting underperforming schools, the number of underperforming schools has more than doubled from 32 in 2014 to 70 in 2015.
MEC Mhaule must account to the Portfolio Committee on Education on this unacceptable increase in underperforming schools, and must prioritise the improvement of the quality of education offered at these schools.
The ongoing trend of learners dropping out before they reach and complete grade 12 is unacceptable as between 2013 and 2015, 34 310 learners were lost. In 2013, 89 290 learners were enrolled in grade 10 yet only 54 980 learners wrote their matric examinations.
The department of education must focus on improving learner retention and ensure that learners are supported from the time they start school to when they complete grade 12.
The province has improved its performance in Physical Science from 58.7% to 62.6%, however, Mathematics had a slight decline from 56.6% to 55.5%. The DA calls on MEC Mhaule to renew her department’s focus on delivering quality education especially in these paramount subjects.
We urge all matriculants who did not obtain the desired results to make the most of supplementary exam opportunities.
The DA hopes that all successful matriculants will continue to enrol in the country’s various tertiary institutions in order to cement their futures.