Pretoria: Gauteng Premier David Makhura has added his voice to the chorus of praise for the class of 2014, who recorded a 75.8% matric pass rate.
In his congratulatory message on Tuesday, the Premier had a special word of commendation for the matrics of Gauteng, who achieved an 84.7% pass rate – the highest provincial performance in the country.
The Premier said he was pleased with the good leadership demonstrated by the Department of Basic Education.
The province now has its sights set on achieving a 100% matric pass rate in the future, Premier Makhura said.
“I am happy but I don’t want to say that 84.7% represents our standard. We want to get to 100%, which means that every year we must step up our efforts,” the Premier said.
He said the achievement affirmed the United Nations’ decision to bestow the provincial Department of Education with the UN Public Service Award last year.
The 84.7% pass rate was achieved after 99 478 learners sat for the 2014 final matric exams.
Premier Makhura said while this achievement is a drop from the 87% achieved by the class of 2013, it is a good baseline for the province to start from, as this was the first time the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was tested at matric level.
The CAPS curriculum 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.
Raising the bar
Premier Makhura attributed the improved quality of matric passes this year to the Secondary School Intervention Programme (SSIP), which is an intervention programme aimed at improving the quality of education in underperforming schools in Gauteng.
He urged parents to do their part in supporting their children.
“We can assure you that as government we will do our part. Parents do your part, educators do your part and learners must also do their part,” he said.
He also appealed to learners who did not succeed to go back and rewrite their exams.
“This is not the end of the world. You must handle defeat with dignity. Take this time to pause and reflect on where you need to improve and go back to the drawing board,” he said.
The Premier made a commitment that the provincial government will continue to work with underperforming districts and schools in ensuring that Gauteng remains the leading province in education.
Meanwhile, Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele also congratulated the class of 2014.
He said learners were able to pick up the baton and make the province proud, despite the high number of service delivery protests in some areas, which ultimately affected the culture of teaching and learning.
“The fact that our country continues to produce more and more university entrants from previously disadvantaged areas is a clear indication that we are on the right track.”
Mayor Gungubele encouraged them to triple their efforts going forward, as the standard of education at institutions of higher learning was higher and tougher.
More well wishes for matrics
The African National Congress (ANC) in the North West has also welcomed the matric results announced by the MEC responsible for Education and Sports Development, Wendy Matsemela.
The province recorded a pass rate of 84.6%, down from 87.2% in 2013.
The provincial ANC branch said it was happy that the province has maintained position two in matric results.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate the North West Provincial Executive, led by Premier Supra Mahumapelo, the MEC, Department of Education, parents, teachers and learners for the sterling work.
“We are particularly encouraged by the marked improvements of performance by girls in the key subjects of Maths and Science. This vindicates our efforts to ensure that Maths and Science are mainstreamed and receive the necessary attention.”
Brand South Africa has also congratulated the class of 2014 for successfully concluding their high school careers.
“We wish the maticulants well as they pursue opportunities beyond the walls of their schools and urge them to play their part to positively contribute towards building our country.”
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS