Matriculants miss university cut

Why did 500 000 Matriculants Miss Varsity Cut in 2015?

In 2015 South Africa’s Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that only 28% of matric pupils had achieved a university pass. Sunday Times writer Paulus Pilatus asks how we can avoid the same statistics next year.

The figures are out and they are deeply saddening, though not unexpected. Blame will be laid in any number of places, but the fact remains that something has to change. Despite the fact that only 28% of matriculants achieved a university pass, the call for matriculants to go on and pursue a post matric qualification/degree is, we believe, a voice that wasn’t raised loud enough. A matric certificate is just not good enough for the youth who want to play an active role in the country’s future development. School should provide a grounding of basic knowledge that will be the basis for future learning.

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It starts with teachers

We are told that the number of centres at which cheating took place was lower than first thought. The less said about cheating the better, but those involved will be found out and will pay for their sins. Students should be encouraged to face the challenges of the curriculum and enjoy beating it and only teachers with the appropriate skills and dedication can instill this kind of attitude. Create an education environment where each and every student capable of learning, will strive to be the best that he/she can be and they then will become a valued member of their community.

Students have summer schools and the suggestion was aired that “so should teachers�?. It’s a thought, but teaching itself is a very time and energy demanding occupation. The fact remains that the pass rate is just one statistic in the education system that needs to be discussed. A possible focus could include the number of pupils passing challenging subjects such as mathematics and science, and gaining university entrance. Education is key to the welfare of any society, educated people make the effort to fix things, they create jobs and the more jobs there are the less crime there is.

Give us access to information

A lot has been written, but what is not needed is for the same to be written again this time next year. The subject of education, teaching, teachers, schools, their facilities should be in the press every day. Only by keeping everyone informed about developments, ideas, change, and progress can we motivate on-going and positive progress. The internet touches the vast majority of the population, either via smart phones, tablets and/or PCs. The education department has made great strides in providing both teacher and students with e-access and it should be used to better enhance the learning experience.

Give students career guidance

On a final note, we would just like to emphasise that too many students are unaware of what career direction they are best suited to and therefore stand a real chance of not taking the right subjects as they approach matric. A student who knows what career he/she is best suited to will enjoy studying in that direction.  They will study longer, study harder and are unlikely to “drop out�? through lack of interest. Believe it or not, telling students what they are best suited to is at your fingertips on  

Keep the education ball rolling – it works for everyone who is prepared to work for it.

What’s the one thing you would change in the education system in South Africa?