NEWS

Opposition Parties Praise Matrics, Slate Government

But the ANC is chuffed, saying the results were a reflection of the party's "continuing successes".

05/01/2017 14:14 SAST | Updated 05/01/2017 14:31 SAST
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A teacher facilitates pupils during a painting session at a newly opened Steve Jobs School on June 23, 2016 in Randburg, South Africa. The schools that cater for children between 2-14 years have two campuses in South Africa. The internationally acclaimed Steve Jobs School model is based on every child having an Independent Learning Plan, centred on their own way of learning, their strengths, preferences and choices.

Warm congratulations were extended to matriculants by various political parties on Thursday, but they also said that more work needed to be done to strengthen education in the country.

"The increase in the number of Africans passing Mathematics and Science, as well as the increase in the number of Bachelors' passes are reflective of improved quality in the learning outcomes," said national ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa in a statement.

Mostly, the ANC was pleased with its education policy, and Kodwa said the results were a reflection of the party's "continuing successes", and the government's open door policy for learning.

Praising the class of 2016 for recording the highest number of enrolments ever, Kodwa said this was "undisputable evidence that the ANC continues to put and keep in school more children than any other government in the history of South Africa".

Top achievers from underprivileged schools were commended by the the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who said that some of the poor schools were still battling against the legacy of the apartheid-era Bantu Education.

"In a country of real inequalities, the girl child often suffers the most. We, therefore, congratulate all the girls that have passed this year and achieved much higher than boys," said party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi in a statement.

'Captured by Sadtu'

Nevertheless, the advancement of girls must continue as part of a move towards a non-sexist society, Ndlozi said.

"However, the Department of Basic Education still has a long way to go, and its chest beating exercise does not help."

A key issue remained the high dropout rate, which had become a "black hole that swallows those who drop out", said Ndlozi.

In addition, he said: "The struggle of those who have passed is now to galvanise funds to access the exorbitant university and college institutions."

The EFF also called for the price of school uniforms, textbooks and other learning materials to be decreased, especially for families struggling to make ends meet. While the Democratic Alliance extended accolades to both matriculants and dedicated teachers, it raised a number of concerns, particularly about the disparities in the pass rate.

"It is tragic that two decades after the end of apartheid, a child's scholastic success is still very much determined by the province they live in and which school they go to," said MP Gavin Davies in a statement.

Moreover, Davis suggested that "it is no coincidence that the worst performing provinces in Matric 2016 were those where Sadtu is most dominant".

"The provincial education departments in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal were all found by the Ministerial Task Team, in its 'jobs for cash' report, to have been captured by Sadtu."

'We are on an upward trajectory'

While the national pass rate - including progressed pupils - is 72.5%, the Eastern Cape only achieved 59.3%, Limpopo 62.5%, and Kwazulu-Natal 66.4%.

The party praised the Western Cape, particularly. "We would like to commend the DA-governed Western Cape for its continued improvement across a range of indicators."

The Congress of the People also weighed in on the matric results:

"We are on an upward trajectory, with a great deal more to do before we sit on our laurels," said party spokesperson Dennis Bloem.

Like the DA, Cope raised concerns about the mathematics results.

"No society can succeed in the absence of a strong mathematics base."

Additional resources should be poured into the training of quality maths teachers, Cope said.

The party also endorsed Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga's position that educational values needed to be extended into the homes of pupils.

"Fewer than 5% of parents read to their children. Without an active reading culture and without substantial emphasis on the reading and study of quality literature, our education will have a serious carry over of an important deficit." -- News24Wire