Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dumber by the number

This year's matric results are wretched, yet another indictment of the mismanagement of the education system by the ANC regime. Understand firstly what 'matric' today actually means. It is a fraction of the standard of 10-15 years ago. That's the first point. This is a system that spat out Julius Malema for fu*k sakes, need I say more? The next point is that 40% of pupils drop out before matriculating. What happens to those kids? 40% is a HUGE percentage.

Of the remaining kids, it is largely an exercise in producing a generation of under-educated, under-achievers. If only 20% of those pupils achieve university exemption, what does the other 80% do, that's assuming all 20% with university exemption actually go to university?

The focus of this variation of OBE (Outcomes Based Education) is to leave no-one behind, again, exhibit A is Julius Malema with his marks of Es, Gs and H, one of these for woodwork! We've dumbed down our standards in order to let as many through the system otherwise there would be hordes of 21-year-old matriculants (refer Julius Malema once more).

And the final point to remember is that we risk our universities losing international accreditation due to the low entry standards into university, all in our haste to meet race quotas where the requirements for whites, blacks, Indians and coloureds are very different.

For example, UCT's
"Guidelines for Admission to UCT in 2009 for holders of a National Senior Certificate" states that people that want to enrol to study medicine are classified into racial categories. To be admitted to study for medicine at UCT black students should have an average school mark of 74%, coloured students 78%, Indians 88% and white students 91%.

What are we saying here? That blacks are naturally stupid and need a hand-out in order to be able to compete with their peers from other races? That's what it says to me. This system is not means tested so even black kids that attended the best private schools only need to attain the same 74% school mark. If we continue along this route, pretty soon, our degrees and diplomas won't be worth the paper it is written on.

Read also;

The wrecking of a university

State of our nation

Pass rate 'unacceptable'- Readers' Letters to News24

6 out of 10 matrics have passed

The country’s 2008 matric class received a pass rate of 62.5 percent, Education Minister Naledi Pandor has announced. Out of this group, 20% achieved a Varsity Pass.

Of the 533,561 candidates with a full set of results, 333,681 candidates or 62.5 percent met the requirements for a National Senior Certificate, she told a press briefing in Pretoria.

Overall 589,912 candidates had written the 2008 examinations but the Minister was reporting on the results of only 533,561 candidates.

Pandor said that there were 56,810 candidates with incomplete results. This, she said, was due to "outstanding internal marks, oral or practical requirements or pending irregularity investigations". "The failure to provide results for all candidates is extremely worrying," Minister Pandor said.

The minister pointed out that it was important to avoid the temptation to make simple comparisons between the previous exam and the new one.

She said that while she would indeed signal comparisons, she did so with the caution "that we have entered a new phase of school leaving examinations in South Africa".

Pandor said that in 2008, 107,462 candidates - or 20.2% - achieved the minimum pass rate required for entry to undergraduate study at university.

This compared to 16% (85,000 pupils) in 2007. The requirement was a minimum of four subjects at 50 percent or above and a maximum of two subjects below 50 percent.

Pandor said that 124,000 candidates had achieved the minimum pass required for entry to a diploma or a non-degree programme at university or a university of technology.

The requirement was four subjects at 40 percent or above and a maximum of two subjects below 40 percent.

The minister added that 102,130 had achieved the requirements for entry to higher certificate programmes.

For this, the requirement was three subjects at 40 percent and three subjects below 40 percent

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union expressed its concern that the matric pass rate had dropped from 65 percent last year to 62.5 percent this year.

"We... have to understand and address the factors which lead to drop out and failure," Sadtu president Thobile Ntola said in a statement.

"Our sense is that issues of historical disadvantage and poverty associated with race, class and the rural-urban divide, and uneven support and poor management, especially in some districts and provinces are crucial here, and we would expect the Department of Education to deepen its analysis in this respect," he said.

Pointing out that more than 40 percent of pupils never even reached matric, Sadtu asked who made up this group, whether they joined the ranks of the unemployed and what could be done to turn around the situation.

It also asked what support there was for the 200,000 pupils who failed matric this year, demanding that adequate resources be made available to them for rewriting.

Sadtu did, however, express encouragement at the number of candidates this year and that a higher percentage of them qualified for tertiary education than last year.

"Higher education institutions need to gear up to accept these increased numbers," said Ntola in congratulating successful candidates, their families, teachers and examiners.

"For those students from poor communities who pass and achieve endorsements, much more needs to be done to assist access to tertiary institutions," he said.

Sadtu also praised the new Outcomes Based Education (OBE) curriculum -- the matriculants who wrote this year were the first educated under OBE -- as "a necessary break with apartheid education". (???!!!)

The union said it made education more relevant to the needs of society.

"The union opposes any attempt to destabilise the education system by scrapping the current national curriculum," Ntola warned.

Although the improved maths and maths literacy results were encouraging, Sadtu said there were still uneven results across the provinces, with pupils in large rural provinces still at a disadvantage. This was primarily because of problems with resources, which led to over-large classes and a lack of permanent appointments.

Also in need of attention was the development and support of teachers, the promotion of home language instruction in previously disadvantaged schools and improving the quality of education.

"To this end, Sadtu is joining with other stakeholders to form local education committees. "We are also participating in the quality learning and teaching campaign with the understanding that teachers must be on time, in class, on task and well-prepared," said the union, which represents 235,000 teachers.

"By the same token, the Department of Education needs to provide basic infrastructure and learning materials and training and local support to teachers," it said.

What the readers to News24 said:

The Eastern Cape MEC released a statement concerning the matric results for his province, and while he tried finding some good out of it using percentages and other fuzzy stats, he could not resist the temptation to deflect the blame on the previous government.

Refer the paragraph: "At this point it is crucial that we note the historical structural weaknesses that still prevail in our system that is invariably to the detriment of our learners from formerly disadvantaged schools".

When are these people going to take responsibility and accountability for their jobs? I can no longer accept such garbage. We all know the EC government is the worst managed and most wasteful province in the country. They have also had 14 + years & billions of rands to get their house in order. What have they done with it? Zip, zero, nada and bugger all. Neall

I must say that the unacceptable level of matriculants passing is a reflection on the government that they can ill afford. Don't they know that education is the only way to buy South Africa out of poverty and create real sustainable economic growth over the long term? The current levels of dedication and failure to correct the culture in schools is so unacceptable that I think the minister should not even be given the opportunity to resign. She should be fired as she is responsible for the state of education in our schools.

If the schools not directly under government control can excel it shows me it is a management issue. Thus like in any other business get the managers in place to get this bankrupted business back on the road to success, our future as a nation depends on it. But unfortunately as usual it will be brushed off and the incompetent minster and associates responsible will get increases above the national average for totally failing in the basic competencies of the job descriptions. - Willie Bosman

Here we go again, as the end of year Matric results come out: Clearly disparity from one region to another and the old chant of blame on the apartheid days. Who continues to dream up such utter crap? I say face the facts that those kids were just out of nappies in 1994 so using a historical excuse falls away. Look at the real self and the parents (more so) who continue to live in yester-years. All children want to succeed and not be left behind by the rest - they thrive on challenges, yet the older generation lives in the past and fails to see into the future. It's all about mindsets - and some people have their mind set in the wrong place. - Dave Rolfe

We have again seen poor results from our learners. Let's accept that there are under-resourced schools and let's concede that this is a legacy of the past. Let's also stop being politically correct and apportion blame where it belongs. It is an indisputable fact that education is dependent on the quality of the teacher more than on the physical environment. Great people have graduated from poor schools.

There seems to be one common factor that needs to be examined. Schools producing the poorest results appear to have more teachers involved in the Democratic Teachers Union. Is this coincidence? Teachers who have, as their priority, the well being of members of the union as opposed to the well being of the learners are never going to achieve the results we need. Minister Pandor should look at this very carefully. It may well be in the interests of our people to look at sacrificing these incompetent teachers for the good of the majority. Leave teaching to those who take pride and joy in their profession and say good riddance to those who think it's a "job". - Lloyd Macklin

For the fifth year in a row - our matric pass rate has dropped. South Africa used to be noted for its high education levels and was one of the best in the world. Now it is an embarrassment. What is happening? We are supposed to be uplifting our nation - not dragging it through the mud. Education - of any kind - is a major key role in a country progression. Quite frankly I think it is time to trade in our minister of education for somebody who knows what they are doing. This new system is even worse than the old system which was worse than the system it replaced.

Maybe it is time to dig up some of the dinosaur education systems that actually worked and bring them back. It is also a time to push for the education of teachers. I think under-qualified teachers are also a major contributing factor. If we continue to produce results like this our whole country is going to slide into the quagmire and turn into nothing but another poverty stricken African dump.

All our educated people who have any qualifications are leaving South Africa - mostly due to the crime rate or lack of job opportunities. I think it is time our government took a serious look at the major mistakes they are making and realise that they need to implement a whole new system - if not a whole new government. This is proof that you have to run a system with skilled people and not nepotism. Ginger

3 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

...and it proves that the book The Bell Curve was correct. Blacks have very low IQ's!

That is a FACT!

Anonymous said...

If 40% drop out before matric and then only 60% of the 60% pass, that means that only 36% of the original entrants gain a matric.

Anonymous said...

These criminals will continue to widen their goal posts in the face of underachievement until there is nothing but goalpost left. Then when it becomes clear that success is beyond mere theft, they will blame those who brought them the furthest they ever got from complete failure.

At what point do we recognise the rights of ourselves even if the bloodsuckers who want what only we provide might just fall behind by their own hand.