Lessons must be learnt from Western Cape

By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:

The Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape congratulates the individuals in the Class of 2015 who worked hard to make their own good results possible. We wish you well with your future plans. We thank the parents, guardians, family members and friends who supported the learners through their examinations and helped them to realise their goals.

We also thank the teachers for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. No learner can perform well without a good teacher by his or her side.

Congratulations to the Namaqua district for achieving the highest pass rate in the province.

Unfortunately, as the abysmal pass rate shows, many learners did not achieve good results. We want to encourage these learners to make full use of the Second Chance programme launched by the department of Basic Education and to sit for the supplementary examinations. Never give up hope.

The shocking 7% decrease in the provincial pass rate shows that the education system is in a serious decline. We have missed the target of an 80% pass rate by 10.6%. This shows that the provincial department of Education must do serious introspection on how and why it is failing our learners. We cannot accept anything less than the absolute best in our education system, as education remains the key to unlocking a better future.

One of the major concerns is the support given to progressed learners.

Only 31% of progressed learners in the Northern Cape actually passed, which is the third worst pass rate for progressed learners in the country. In fact, if one excludes the results of progressed learners, the overall pass rate would have been 77.2% and would have shown a small increase from 2014. We need to question the targeted interventions implemented by the provincial department as these have clearly failed.

We need to look at what the best performing province and districts are doing so that we can also offer a high quality of education to all of our learners in the Northern Cape. The pass rate does not reflect on one year of work, but on a multi-year process. It is not just access to education which is important, but access to the kind of quality education that grows a child’s potential to the full. We need to have sustained interventions from all stakeholders.

Where the DA governs, learners are given the opportunities they need in order to succeed. While no district in the Northern Cape could achieve a pass rate of more than 80%, every single district in the Western Cape achieved more than 80%. While the amount of bachelors passes in the Northern Cape have decreased by 3.6%, every single learner from the Western Cape who passed matric passed with access to higher education.

This is the quality of education that every single one of our learners deserve and if the Northern Cape is serious about improving its quality of education, it must learn a few important lessons from the Western Cape.