The matric blame game


The government, teachers, parents and pupils are all to blame for the expected drop in the national matric pass rate.

Unions yesterday said inadequately trained teachers, uninvolved parents, a lack of support from the Department of Basic Education and ill-disciplined pupils were responsible for the expected poor results.

The results are predicted to be between 3% and 4% lower than last year.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will announce the 2014 results in Johannesburg today.

Nic Spaull, an education expert and researcher at Stellenbosch University, said one of the biggest problems in education was the lack of accountability at all levels.

“There are no consequences for non-performance, either at school or in the bureaucracy.

“The second problem is the lack of capacity,” Spaull said.

“Many teachers do not have the required content knowledge and teaching skills required to teach the curriculum. This is partly due to inferior teacher training during apartheid, but it is also due to the low quality of in-service teacher training in the post-apartheid period.”

SA Democratic Teachers’ Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said parents, pupils, teachers and the government should take collective responsibility when matric results are poor.

“It is totally unfair to blame [only] the teachers,” he said.

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA’s Basil Manuel said: “The role parents must play sounds so obvious but it certainly is not in our context. We find that parents of children in junior primary are very active, attend meetings, sign homework and read with their children in much greater numbers than those of pupils at high schools.”

Both Manuel and Maluleke said retraining teachers was essential because of curriculum changes.

Basic Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said investigations into allegations of group cheating during matric exams at nearly 60 KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape schools were still under way.

Mhlanga said the number of reported incidents was “too small” to affect the integrity of the exams overall.

But National Teacher’s Union spokesman Allen Thompson said group cheating was a new phenomenon that could lead to the education system being doomed.