Cape Town: The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha, has congratulated all the offenders who passed the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
Briefing journalists in Cape Town on Wednesday, the Minister said the pass rate among inmates increased from 58.8% in 2013 to 68.9% in 2014.
He said this was an indication that education intervention programmes were starting to yield positive results.
“We congratulate our offenders as you hold the key to a brighter future. We also want to commend those youth in our correctional centres, who are grabbing education opportunities with both hands.
“Our education intervention programmes were strengthened by the introduction of a compulsory education policy in 2012, targeting youth up to the age of 25,” he said.
The Minister said a compulsory education policy was introduced to provide a “carrot and stick approach” aimed at attracting and pushing offenders to register for educational programmes for both part-time and full-time study.
The Minister’s announcement comes two days after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2014 NSC results at the SABC studios in Auckland Park.
The matric class of 2014 has achieved a pass rate of 75.8%. The decline was attributed to the quality and standard of the exams being increased after the introduction of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).
Education at heart of rehabilitation
Minister Masutha said his department had placed education and training at the centre of its rehabilitation agenda.
“This paradigm is aimed at eliminating illiteracy, under-qualification as well as the absence of critical technical skills and competencies required for employment or self-employment.
“From 2009 to date, more than 108 321 inmates participated in formal education programmes.
“From April 2013, it is compulsory for every inmate without a qualification equivalent to Grade 9 to complete Adult Education and Training (AET) level one to four,” he said.
The Minister said offenders were also being trained as Literacy Facilitators to teach functionally and totally illiterate offenders to read, write, spell and study.
He also said education was being used as a tool to rehabilitate offenders.
The department, he said, had also considered all the sensitivities to the victims of the sentenced offenders ahead of introducing the top achievers to the public.
Results in numbers
Minister Masutha said last year, 185 sentenced offenders – full-time and part-time – sat for the 2014 NSC exams.
Inmates achieved 24 subject distinctions, with 21 distinctions coming from the Usethubeni Youth Centre in Durban and the other three coming from the Vuselela Learning Centre in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West regions.
The top five performing schools recorded an average pass rate of 83.63%. The schools are Emthonjeni Youth Centre (100%), St Albans School (83.33%), Umlalati Learning Centre (83.33%), Usethubeni Youth School (76.47%) and Vuselela Learning Centre (75%).
2014 marked the first year that the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was tested at matric level.
CAPS was phased in during 2012 in grade 10, 2013 in grade 11 and 2014 in grade 12. The intention of CAPS is to improve the standard and quality of curriculum implementation.
CAPS encapsulates the new promotion requirements, which are considerably higher than the previous promotion requirements.
The National Curriculum Statement (NCS), Grades R – 12, underpinned by CAPS, was also implemented in 2014 in the Senior Phase (grade 7, 8 and 9) for the first time.
In November 2014, the Department of Basic Education announced that it had raised the pass mark for the Senior Phase.
In 2013, the pass requirement was that one should pass seven of the nine subjects. With the new changes in 2014, a learner has to pass eight of the nine subjects.
In 2013, a learner had to pass one official Language at 40% and a second official Language at 30%. With the new changes in 2014, a 50% pass requirement in Home Languages and 40% pass requirement in First Additional language was set as the new standard.
Also in 2013, condonation was allowed in one of the subjects. In 2014, no condonation was allowed. The change relates not only to the raising of pass requirements in Language but it also only allows learners to fail one subject without a condonation allowance.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS