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Disruption of schooling in Gauteng led to decline in matric pass rate, says Panyaza Lesufi

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi presenting the province's 2019 matric results on January 8 2020.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi presenting the province's 2019 matric results on January 8 2020.
Image: Gauteng Education via Twitter

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has blamed the province’s matric pass rate decline on disruptions by community members. 

“We want to plead with communities, if you have problems with the mayor, the mayors are here. If you have problems with councillors, go to the municipalities. Leave our schools and our children to be educated. You are being selfish,” he said.

“If you check the schools where there were disruptions, Eldorado Park, Klipspruit, these are the schools that have dragged our results downwards. If these schools, especially the schools in Sedibeng, performed well, this thing of Free State beating us would not have happened,” the MEC added.

Gauteng received a pass rate of 87.2%, a slight decline from the 87.95% it received in 2018. The decline saw the province lose its top spot to the Free State.

In Eldorado Park, Freedom Park Secondary School was one of the schools that experienced disruptions last year.

Lesufi threatened to shut the school down in April after several pupils were arrested after they went on the rampage, attacking police who had come to search for drugs and weapons there.

“We know the challenges of this school. Since we opened this beautiful school, this school has gone down badly. Teachers not at school, teachers fighting among themselves, teachers fighting with the principal. People vandalising a school that is meant for their own children and we must pay a price. And the price is the behaviour of our children,” Lesufi said at the time.

Meanwhile, Klipspruit West Secondary School saw disruptions when members of the coloured community reportedly protested against the appointment of a black principal. 

Lesufi also expressed the department’s disappointment at the torching of the Vaal's Tokelo High School last week, in which four classrooms went up in flames in an “arson attack”.

Despite this, he said schooling would resume as planned next week. 

“Next week Monday [Tokelo] will open its doors. All the children there will study on day one. They will have their material and their tablets, and no one will disturb education there.”

Lesufi travelled Gauteng last year, attempting to douse flames. In some incidents, pupils were murdered on school properties, allegedly by fellow pupils.