The Western Cape Education Department is hopeful about increasing its level of matric passes this year, aiming for a pass rate of at least 75%. Helen Zille and her education MEC, Debbie Schafer, say it is important to look at the retention rate of Grade 10 pupils in order to arrive at the ‘real’ matric pass rate. The province’s retention rate for Grade 10 to 12 has improved from 53.1% in 2009 to 63.5% in 2014. Last year 85.1% of pupils in the Western Cape attained their national senior certificate.
The province is aiming to reach a target of 43 000 passes this year as compared to the 40 558 in 2013. At this point, just below 50 000 full-time pupils are registered to write their final exams. “The Western Cape education department will continue to assist learners in the remaining 42 days with intensive support to schools,” says Zille.
Additionally, the Western Cape is hoping to maintain a target of 40% of pupils achieving access to education at a tertiary level. The South African government says they are committed to increasing the numbers of honours graduates to more than 75 000, masters’ graduates to more than 17 000, and doctoral graduates to more than 5 000, by the end of 2014. Unfortunately, the challenge in fully meeting these targets “is that the production of these skills is threatened by an ageing lecturing workforce at higher education institutions,” says Zuma. “One fifth of academics will retire within a decade, and many of these are professors”. This means the most experienced of academics “will be leaving higher education”. South Africa needs to produce more graduates entering the education field and so we need to make academia more “exciting for our youth”.
Written by Kristin Naude
BrightSparkz specialist tutor – Maths Literacy, English, History and Biology