Minister Schäfer Congratulates Successful Learners in the Western Cape
Statement by Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape Minister of Education
On the release of the 2014 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results, I would like to congratulate the 82.2% of learners in the Western Cape who passed the 2014 NSC examination, especially given the indications that, in many respects, the examinations were reportedly more difficult.
In light of this we are also especially proud that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country, with 38.8% of learners achieving this quality pass.
We have also improved our Mathematics pass rate from 73.3% to 73.9%. Physical Sciences decreased slightly by 1.9% to 70.7%.
The Western Cape Government has said year on year, that when considering the NSC results, one has to consider the numbers of learners passing through the system and ultimately passing their matric. We believe that retaining more learners in the system and giving them the opportunity to pass the NSC is more important than “losing” learners along the way so that schools can achieve a higher pass rate.
We believe that this practice defeats the purpose of education for these children and is unacceptable. It denies them the opportunity to succeed, no matter what challenges lie before them.
Therefore, when considering the NSC pass rate, it is important that we consider the retention of learners by comparing the number of learners enrolled for the NSC exams to the number of Grade 10 learners enrolled two years before that. This is known as the “Real Matric pass rate”.
Unlike the overall “pass rate”, the “real matric pass rate” factors in the retention rate.
The results of the “real matric pass rate” for the 2014 NSC show a very different "ranking" to that announced by the National Minister for Education this evening:
*the figures for 2014 NSC are based on learners attending public ordinary and independent schools.
It is clear that the Western Cape retained almost 6% more learners in the system than Gauteng, over 20% more than the North West and over 16% than the Free State.
While some provinces may be proud of their pass rates without taking into account the retention rate of their learners, in the Western Cape our focus, no matter where we are positioned in terms of the pass rate, will be on whether we have increased the numbers of candidates passing, and the quality of those passes.
While our retention pass rate still remains higher than the other provinces, we are, however, disappointed that we did not achieve more individual passes this year. I have asked for a deeper analysis of these results to ascertain the reasons for this.
The Department has, however, informed me that the number of candidates qualifying for Supplementary examinations is over 7 000.
Therefore, of the 8 472 learners who did not pass their NSC, over 7 000 candidates did not pass either one or two subjects and will qualify for another opportunity to write and pass their NSC. I strongly encourage them to make use of this opportunity and put in their best effort to pass it. I will also discuss with the HOD what the department will do to assist those learners.
While it is pleasing that the Western Cape Education Department reached its target of decreasing the existing number of underperforming schools by over 50% from 23 to 10 schools, we are disappointed that 21 new schools dropped into this category.
We are currently analysing the results to determine which schools did not perform well and in which subject areas. It is evident that in this year’s NSC, learners in subjects such as maths literacy, Business Studies and History, performed at lower levels. This now needs to be compared and contrasted with the national results and the various districts.
Once the results have been analysed, we will engage with the HOD and her district directors regarding a strategy for improving the results at the end of 2015. More details will be provided once this plan has been completed, the target date for which is the end of January.
We are continuously looking at ways to improve education in the Western Cape as we want to see more learners achieving their NSC and access to higher education to broaden their opportunities. That is ultimately the purpose of education.