Progressed pupils contributed to drop in matric pass rate, Education DG explains
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says the drop in the matric pass rate was not as devastating as the department expected, given the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The DBE's director-general Mathanzima Mweli says the main reason for the lower 2020 matric pass rate is not Covid-19-related.
He argues that the cohort of progressed learners in 2020 contributed to the pass rate drop because modularisation was discontinued for grade 12 learners last year.
In the past, progressed learners were able to write their grade 12 examinations over a two-year period.
However, the DBE began phasing out the policy, known as modularisation or multiple examination opportunity (MEO), last year.
No pupils were modularised (allowed to write over two years) and progressed learners wrote the end-of-year exam in one go for the first time last year, irrespective of their performance during the year.
Progress learners in the class of 2020 were the first cohort of progressed pupils to write all their exams in one sitting, Mweli explains.
He argues that this played a major role in the 2020 matric results.
Over 70,000 learners were progressed into 2020 matric class and over 24,000 passed.
The DG says if the progressed pupils were not included in the pass rate, it would be 81.2%.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga told the media on Monday that in 2020 progressed learners from 2019 did not receive the necessary support because of the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought the general pass rate down.
The DBE implemented the progression policy with the aim of minimising the high dropout rate and maximising school retention.
Mweli has congratulated the class 2020 for their extraordinary performance despite difficult circumstances.
He's also applauded teachers and parents who were committed to helping matriculants succeed last year.
This class was the first class to carry the burden of the 11% of learners who were not modularised. If you exclude them, the class goes up to 81% plus... Part of the burden has been learners who had to write all the subjects despite the fact that they were progressed.Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General - Department of Basic Education
The future of our country is in safe hands. I want to congratulate this extraordinary class which was subjected to an unprecedented disaster in human history... but in my view, they managed to conquer it - that's why the impact is just 5.1%.Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General - Department of Basic Education
Parents demonstrated their confidence in the public schooling sector by returning their children to school. Grade 12 learners, we had virtually 100% attendance.Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General - Department of Basic Education
When we presented this to the president, he was quite impressed and surprised... people were saying it's going to be a bloodbath.Mathanzima Mweli, Director-General - Department of Basic Education
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