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Concerns over matric results

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Opposition parties in the province are calling for Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe’s head as they claim ‘his laziness and incompetence’ to be the reason why the province finished last in the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.
This follows the announcement of the provincial results at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort on Friday where it was learnt that Limpopo had produced a 69,4% pass rate which is a 3,8% improvement on the 2017 Grade 12 pass rate. The province, however, failed to achieve the 70% national target. Concerns were also raised over three schools – Senwane High School in Waterberg, Letshega Malokoane Secondary School in Capricorn and Ramoroke Secondary School in Sekhu­khune where not a single Grade 12 learner had managed to pass. Senwane High School and Letshega Malokoane Secondary School were each represented by 12 candidates while Ramoroke Secondary School had only two.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Provincial Chairperson Jossey Buthane said in a statement that they want Kgetjepe to be recalled from his position with immediate effect as the MEC has neither the skills nor the capacity to run the department and does not inspire confidence. Buthane further alleged that whatever is done in the department is being run by outside forces.
“The primary concentration of these outside forces is on tenders that come from this department. The department has abandoned its responsibility of educating learners. It is more concerned about giving African National Congress (ANC) factions tenders to an extent that they even fight amongst themselves over such tenders. This happens precisely because the department is on auto pilot because there is no leadership in this institution,” Buthane stated.
He went on to allege that Kgetjepe’s laziness, incompetence and ignorance has brought a dull moment to the province and has shattered the hopes of many black children who only needed guidance from those given the responsibility to do so.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle emphasised that it was unacceptable that only 76 730 learners (41,7%) of the 184 028 learners who enrolled for Grade 10 in 2016 wrote the matric exams and only 53 254 learners of that group passed the NSC exams thus pointing to a real pass rate of 28,9%. “The department has been a constant underperformer year after year under the leadership of Kgetjepe in comparison to the other provinces and is setting up Limpopo learners for failure in the future,” Smalle claimed.
He further said if Premier Stan Mathabatha was serious about improving the quality of education and the chances of learners receiving a tertiary education, he would hold the department accountable and ensure there was a functional monitoring and evaluation system that prioritises the quality of education offered to all learners.
The ANC in the province also expressed concern in a media statement issued by its Provincial Secretary, Soviet Lekganyane who said that despite notable improvement in matric results, Limpopo was still languishing at the bottom of the standings compared to other provinces. Limpopo remains the only province that did not achieve above the 70% national target, he said.
Lekganyane said the party urges the Provincial Government to intervene in the three aforementioned schools that got 0% pass rate and provide the necessary assistance. He emphasised that government should explore possibilities of merging these schools with neighbouring schools and redirect resources to those schools.
He, however stated that the ANC in Limpopo was impressed with the 3,8% improvement recorded. This improvement is a demonstration that despite the heightened challenges within the sector, the ANC Government was making strides to improve the quality of education, Lekganyane concluded.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za