By Dr. Tutu Faleni, DA NW Spokesperson on Education:
The DA congratulates every matriculant who passed and excelled despite many obstacles and challenges.
The DA is concerned about the steep decline in the matric pass rate in North West, declining nearly 6% since 2013. It is an alarming trend that matric pass rates are decreasing in all ANC-governed provinces.
In the North West, learners have been deprived of quality education and access to education due to poor ANC governance.
By contrast, under DA governance the Western Cape has achieved excellent matric results, and stands ahead as the best in South Africa. IN the Western Cape all matrics who passed, achieved tertiary education passes enabling them to access real opportunity in their futures.
In the North West the story is sadly very different and has failed our young people terribly.
The reasons why the Department of Education was placed under financial administration last year became apparent during the course of a bumpy academic year in 2015.
Amidst service delivery protests, some schools were burnt down and learners were left with no learning facilities, severely compromising the matric learning.
Poor planning and management of transport services for learners in the rural areas led to the loss of many valuable teaching hours.
The ANC governed province suffered even further when 900 teachers resigned in June and July 2015. A request by the DA for a timeline for filling the vacancies was ignored by the MEC Wendy Matsemela, and therefore many teaching vacancies remained as 2015 ended.
In some areas of the North West schools are overcrowded, but yet the Department of Education closed 104 schools leaving learner in the rural areas either without schools or forcing them to travel to other schools – a luxury few parents can afford.
While government is whipping up excuses for drops in the matric pass rate, nearly 1 500 learners in Kopela, near Delareyville have not written their year-end exams yet and the academic year for them will only start on 1 February.
MEC Matsemela must account to the Legislature for these declining matric pass rate numbers, and I will ensure that proper explanations are provided to our learners.