The improvement of quality learning and teaching among schools in remote areas is one of the core focal areas targeted for intervention during the 2020 academic year. The key indicators retracted from the National Senior Certificate (NSC) data presented during the Director-General’s provincial engagements in various provinces, have suggested an urgent shift of focus from Further Education and Training (FET) to the General Education and Training (GET) band during 2020.
Through his engagement, Basic Education Director-General, Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, has succeeded in stimulating an accountability culture in provinces, through which gaps and challenges observed in the education system are affirmed. Mr Mweli commenced this programme in February 2020, with an attempt to gauge strides made by schools in terms of improving curriculum coverage, especially in the GET band. In his remarks, Mr Mweli said that provinces are hard at work to ensure that schools are fully resourced to deliver quality education. “The engagement with key education stakeholders in provinces has assisted both the DBE and Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) in cascading critical information required at provincial up to the school level”.
Mr Mweli further alluded to the fact that given the increasing trend of progressed learners in provinces, it is imperative for education districts and schools to be on top of their game to deal with factors that have the potential to interrupt schooling. He then pointed out several aspects that needed to be prioritised during 2020 to sustain the national overall pass rate. These included reviewing policies on learner progression, putting measures in place to prevent community protests from interrupting schooling, a decision to divide Accounting and Business Studies into two examination papers, setting the bar high for under-performing districts and schools, as well as paying attention to declining subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Home Languages. “We need to come up with solid strategies and mechanisms to deal with challenges arising in the Basic Education Sector,” remarked Mr Mweli.
He also commended the DBE and PEDs for having increased the number of learners completing Grade 12 since 1996 to date. As a sector, we have to consider increasing the minimum pass mark to at least 40% to be on par with the minimum requirements applied in bachelor studies offered at institutions of higher learning. Mr Mweli informed key education stakeholders that the sector is making significant improvements in terms of supporting learners in Quintile 1 to 3 schools. “Many learners in these schools are beginning to compete with learners in the affluent schools. The 2019 NSC Examinations saw learners in Quintile 1 to 3 achieving a high volume of distinctions, with the majority of them entering bachelor studies at institutions of higher learning. This is evidence that our education system is on the rise. We also need to invest more resources and energy in learners with special needs and assist them to complete Grade 12. These engagements should allow provinces to learn from each other and further initiate strategies and intervention support programmes that would yield positive results during 2020.”