Equal Education

EE PRESS STATEMENT 05/01/11: ANTICIPATING THE MATRIC RESULTS: WHAT JOURNALISTS SHOULD LOOK FOR

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Equal Education (EE) advises the media to take into account the following factors when analysing the 2010 matric results (which at time of writing are not yet available):

  • The 2010 matric class began school in 1999 as a class of 1,318,932 learners, according to Department of Education statistics there were. (This figure might be slightly high when one considers that there are approximately 1,15m births per year in South Africa.)
  • By 2010 this class had reduced down to 579,384. This means that only 44% of those who began grade 1 in 1999 made it to the start of matric in 2010. Therefore, whatever the matric pass rate is, it applies only to the 44% of learners who managed to actually get to matric.
  • To pass matric a learner is required to score 30% in 3 subjects, and 40% in 3 subjects (including home language).


Poor quality education and INEQUALITY combine to put a quality matric out of reach of the majority of young people in South Africa.

One example: In Khayelitsha, in the 2009 matric class, there were over 3000 learners. Of these only 26 attained 50% in both physical science and mathematics. We imagine the 2010 picture will be similar. In reporting on the results we call on the media not only to celebrate the few who defy every obstacle and succeed against the odds (although of course they must be celebrated) but also to write about why the vast majority do not achieve. Unless we use the matric results to understand the core problems, they have little meaning.

The fact that the MAJORITY of learners drop out or fail matric is due to many factors. A few examples:

  • 50% of all learners between 16-18 have to share textbooks (according to a 2009 study by Social Surveys and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS).
  • Only 8% of schools have stocked libraries, according to 2009 Department of Education statistics.
  • In the Eastern Cape there are still nearly 400 schools classified as “mud-schools”. Despite promises, the Minister has failed to promulgate minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure as called for by Section5A of the SA Schools Act.
  • Due to shortages of qualified teachers, inadequate salaries and support, and no incentives to attract teachers into poor communities, in townships like Khayelitsha it is common for class sizes to range between 50 to 60 learners, or more.


EE will make a number of further statements once the results become available.

For comment:

  • Brad Brockman 0722678489
  • Doron Isaacs 0828502111

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