Matric Results Are Proving The Success Of Failure
What people achieve in life is a function of what they believe. How are we to believe that we can be great as individuals and as a country if we continue to accept mediocrity in the results we are producing at our schools? It’s been accurate to say that the imbalances created by Colonialism and Apartheid resulted in Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDI’s). This designated group of Black people was in my mind temporary, as it was a timing difference that would be corrected through various actions, including education. It seems the leadership in this country is doing its best to ensure that this is not a timing difference, but rather a permanent difference.
As a Black person of my age, it does not make sense to me that my children will have a perception that they are PDI’s when they finish their education and enter the work place. Looking at the Matric results for 2011, the majority of their generation will still be PDI’s in my opinion. We can’t blame Apartheid for that! Where is the accountability then, considering the impetus of change started in 1994? Since then, we have dropped the standards of what we expect people to achieve in order to consider them educated and qualified to pass Matric.
To pass Matric, you need to get 40% in a home language, life orientation and two electives accompanied by 30% in Maths, an additional language and another elective. The pupil then believes they have qualified and are ready to take on the world of work or proceed to higher education. After all, they have a National Senior Certificate that states, “The candidate qualifies for the national senior certificate and fulfils the minimum requirements for admission to higher education.” Would you have confidence that you can develop a person with those achievements to add value in your business?
President Jacob Zuma hailed the improved Matric pass rate as a “step in the right direction”. The pass rate was up from 67.8% in 2010 to 70.2% in 2011. Considering that 923,463 learners started in 2000 it is worrying that only 496,090 wrote Matric in 2011. That implies only 1 in 2 of the learners that started school got to write Matric. Of these only 348,117 passed Matric based on this benchmark we have set. That is an effective failure rate of 62.3% i.e. 62.3% of all the learners that started school in 2000 and should have matriculated in 2011 either dropped out or failed!
We are succeeding at failing to address the imbalances of the past. We are adding to the list of Previously Disadvantaged Individuals, rather than making it less of a problem than we already had!