The DA has cast doubt on the validity of the 2023 matriculants’ results in KZN and the Free State. The party argues that the figures released by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga may not be accurate.
The results indicated an 86.3% pass rate, a 3.3% increase from the previous year. This positions KZN as the second-best performing province and a leader in Bachelor passes.
However, according to DA KZN spokesperson for education Dr Imran Keeka, these numbers may not tell the whole story.
Numbers are misleading
He said the DA plans to reveal the drop-out rate since Grade 10 and other factors affecting the 2023 matric cohort in the coming days.
Keeka further criticised the ANC-led government, accusing it of systematically destroying the education system in the province. He highlighted issues such as a lack of leadership in the education department, crumbling school infrastructure, poor parental involvement, and misdirected finances.
“While having a matric qualification remains significant, the devastating reality is that there is a severe lack of job opportunities in KZN. A direct result of the province’s Taliban faction ANC government. This is a brutal blow as the cost of living continues to rise,” stated Dr. Keeka.
The DA spokesperson also raised concerns about the challenges awaiting the matric class 2024. This includes shortages of books, stationery, classroom furniture, insufficient learner transport, and unsafe environments.
There is hope in the new (DA) government
“The outlook is bleak, but there is hope in the form of a new government in KZN – one that will turn education around. The matric class of 2023 owe it to themselves to ensure that they are registered to vote in the crucial upcoming elections. As do those who are eligible within the 2024 cohort,” urged Dr. Keeka.
Meanwhile, Mariette Pittaway, the DA education spokesperson in the Free State legislature, has expressed concern over the province’s high drop-out rates.
Free State numbers also questioned
Despite the Free State obtaining the top national pass rate of 89.03%, Pittaway highlights that 37.2% of learners failed grade 10 and 25.9% failed grade 8 in 2023.
She emphasised that the “real pass rate is only 50%”. Pittaway attributes the high drop-out rate to inadequate infrastructure in many schools. This includes overcrowded classrooms and a lack of basic facilities.
Real Free State pass rate is 50%
“Taking into account the learners that fell out of the schooling system between 2021 and 2023, the real pass rate of the Free State is a mere 50%.
“The Free State has the highest drop-out rate nationally as opposed to the DA-governed Western Cape which has the lowest drop-out rate. The Western Cape achieved the top mathematics pass rate at 75.4%, and the top physical science pass rate at 82.2% nationally. These are subjects which allow students to gain critical skills and contribute positively towards the economy.
Lack of basic infrastructure
“Many schools in the Free State lack basic infrastructure, such as adequate classrooms and ablution facilities. Schools are overcrowded and many has failing infrastructure. This has resulted in a lack of safety and security. The situation makes it difficult for students to learn and succeed academically. It contributes to the high rate of school dropouts.
“Poverty, hunger, and a lack of access to necessities like food, clean water, or in some instances any water, and electricity. These can make it difficult for students to focus on their studies,” Pittaway said.