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The Ministry of Basic Education and South Africa’s top business leaders engaged with President Zuma to receive feedback on the National Education Collaboration Trust’s progress in its efforts to urgently and significantly assist government in its efforts to reform education in South Africa. The discussion also covered the significant level of funding already raised to this end by the private sector which has been matched by government –  and a reminder that their target is R500 million per annum.

At a lunch briefing at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Friday morning, 22 August, President Jacob Zuma, the Minister of Basic Education and several other cabinet members met with some of Business Leadership South Africa’s (BLSA’s) key players, for feedback and dialogue on the progress of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT). The President thanked big business for committing to the Education Collaboration Framework (ECF) and its implementation via the NECT. He also applauded the private-sector funding already pledged to the project – BLSA has agreed to commit 0.004% of their member companies’ market capitalisation annually, over three years, to the first phase of the NECT, rising to 0.008% as the programme rolls out nationally. Government is matching this funding rand for rand. Unions and NGOs are enthusiastically supportive. It’s effectively an educational Codesa.

Zuma stressed that multi-stakeholder engagement was crucial to the NECT’s chances of success – while government is primarily responsible for managing the educational process, he conceded that the NECT, an independent trust managed jointly by a diverse, representative group of trustees was in a good position to give the Department of Basic Education the help it needs to fast track the rehabilitation process.

As a pilot programme to implement Chapter 9 of the National Development Plan (NDP), the aim is undeniably ambitious: to transform South Africa’s basic education system to the point where 90% of learners are achieving pass marks above 50% in language, core mathematics and science. The achievement of these goals will take a collaborative effort across society, which is why the NECT is based on dialogue and consensus between all stakeholders – government, business, teacher unions, NGOs, community, traditional and religious leadership, and parents (through school governing bodies). By collaborating on planning and implementation, each will contribute to overhauling the education environment and the quality of teaching and learning within their own areas of competence toward an agreed plan.

In the meeting it was discussed how these different competencies are already operating in the eight districts – comprising of  4 362 schools (18% of the national total) – in which the project is being rolled out first. The ECF identified six discernible themes for action by the NECT: teacher professionalisation, courageous leadership, improving state capacity to deliver quality education, improving school resourcing, parent and community involvement and learner welfare. By tackling each theme with practical, implementable programmes and securing the buy-in of teachers, government, business and civil society, the NECT has already proved itself more than a talk-shop.

There was healthy and frank discussion between business and government with the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, reiterating the fact that the NECT has made huge strides in mobilising the private sector, as well as society and labour unions to take part in improving the quality of education in South Africa. 

President Zuma called on all the MECs and Ministers present to report back to him about what they have done to support the NECT in practical and tangible ways.  However, he also urged the assembled business leaders to continue BLSA’s drive to secure more committed funding. BLSA has set itself and its members a target of R200-R300 million in the initial, three-year phase of the NECT – funding that will be matched by government.  The NECT is managed and lead by an independent team of educationalists acting as a monitoring and evaluation board, to ensure that spending on interventions and training is as cost-effective as possible. This structure has boosted business confidence in the enterprise.

The bottom line, according to the President, is that fixing South Africa’s basic education system cannot be dismissed as “the government’s problem” by any serious business. This isn’t a case of feel-good gestures or the easing of social consciences – it’s an economic necessity. It is the centrepiece of the NDP. “We cannot grow the economy, or hope to provide economic opportunity to all our citizens, without radical improvement in the quality of education. Funding the NECT may count as corporate social investment, but it is really an investment in long-term business sustainability and economic stability.”

 

Class of 2011 achieve 70.2% pass rate

There were scenes of jubilation around the country on Wednesday evening when Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga announced in Pretoria that the 2011 matric pass rate had increased to 70.2%.

The announcement ended months of anticipation for 496 090 full-time candidates who sat for National Senior Certificate exams in 2011.

Making the announcement live on television, Minister Motshekga said that she was pleased to announce the national pass rate of 70.2% for the class of 2011, an increase of 2.4% on the 67.8% achieved by the class of 2010.

“To the class of 2011, I want to say that you are great role models whose larger-than-life endeavours should challenge you to aim high,” said Minister Motshekga. “I wish to thank all education MECs, provincial officials and the team at national office for their dedication and sterling work.”

The percentage of candidates who qualified for Bachelor’s studies increased to 24.3%, up from 20.1% in 2008. A total of 104 033 candidates passed Mathematics while 96 441 candidates achieved a pass in Physical Science. The pass rate for Mathematics is 46.3% in 2011, a decline from 47.4% in 2010. In Mathematical Literacy 236 548 learners passed Mathematical Literacy, compared to 241 576 in 2010.

Minister Motshekga welcomed the improved performance in Physical Science – given the subjects priority status – but expressed concern about candidate performance in Mathematics.

“We have a strategy in place which we will vigorously implement in 2012 to improve the pass rate and the quality of Mathematics and Physical Science – The National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education,” announced the Minister.

“Our focus will be on four areas: (1) improving the participation and performance of girl learners; (2) helping schools to improve learners’ subject choices; (3) ensuring correct placement of teachers; and (4) focusing teacher development efforts on subject and pedagogical content knowledge.”

·         The Western Cape has registered the highest pass rate, at 82.9%, up from 76.8% in 2009, an improvement of 6.1%.

·         Gauteng achieved 81.1%, up from 78.6% in 2010 and an improvement of 2.5%.

·         North West achieved 77.8%, up from 75.7%, an improvement of 2.1%. 

·         Northern Cape achieved 68.8%, down from 72.3% in 2010, a decline of 3.5%. 

·         Free State achieved 75.7%, up from 70.7%, an improvement of 5.0%.%. 

·         KwaZulu-Natal achieved 68.1%, down from 70.7% in 2010, and a decline of 2.6%.

·         Mpumalanga reached 64.8%, up from 56.8% representing the largest improvement by a province.

·         Limpopo achieved 63.9%, up from 57.9% and an improvement of 6.0%.

·         The Eastern Cape achieved 58.1%, down from 58.3% in 2010, and a decline of 0.2%.

The Minister took the opportunity to announce that the National Department would send teams out to the 16 poorest performing districts to get to the bottom of their performance in the exams and put in place interventions to ensure a turnaround.

“All thanks to the different teacher unions, parents, students and QLTC for working tirelessly to ensure quality learning and teaching in our schools. It would be remiss of me not to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all the people and organisations who have supported education in one way or another,’ concluded Minister Motshekga.


nsc EXAM RESULTS 2011 resources

NSC Exam Results Reports

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