Mission to maintain matric pass rate

THE KwaZulu-Natal department of education is not resting on its laurels after registering an increase in the matric pass rate this year.

Determined to maintain the standards from the moment schools opened on Wednesday, officials have been visiting various districts to get first-hand information on the progress in the schools.

Speaking to Sowetan during a surprise visit to rural Nongoma district yesterday, MEC for education Senzo Mchunu said he was satisfied with what he found.

His first stop was KwaZiphethe Sivananda High School. The school had its first matric class in 2008 and achieved a 91percent pass rate.

"We chose this school for one simple reason - it achieved 91percent in 2008 and 90percent last year - a 1percent drop. To many 1percent might be nothing, but to us as a department it's a concern.

"We went there to check what could have led to this decrease because we want every school to produce a 100percent pass rate," Mchunu said.

"After a meeting with the principal, the school governing body and other stakeholders, ways and means were mapped out to address issues that were raised as factors contributing to this decrease," Mchunu said

Without elaborating, he said some of the contributing factors started in September.

Meanwhile, MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Willies Mchunu, who visited schools in the Bergville district, also expressed satisfaction with what he found.