Gauteng is closing the pass rate gap between rich and poor schools

08 January 2020 - 14:19
By Naledi Shange
Township schools are upping the quality of their education and fast catching up with schools in the wealthier suburbs, says Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Image: TimesLIVE/Nico Gous Township schools are upping the quality of their education and fast catching up with schools in the wealthier suburbs, says Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

Gauteng was closing the performance gap between the province's rich and affluent schools and the township schools, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Wednesday.

He said there used to be a gap of between 40% and 60% between rich and poor schools in the province but now that gap had shrunk to a little under 3%.

Township schools achieved a pass rate of 89.82% in the 2019 matric exams, while the non-township schools achieved 92.61.%.

Lesufi said this was because of all the investments and strides that had been made in bettering township schools. These had resulted in it no longer being undesirable to enrol in a township school.

“All the combis and buses that were leaving the township are making a U-turn back to the township, because the quality of education has improved,” he said.

He suggested that township schools were now significantly more convenient than non-township schools as pupils were provided with free education, transport, school uniforms, food, stationery and sanitary towels.

All the pupils needed to focus on was their schooling, he said. 

Lesufi was speaking in Randburg, Johannesburg, where he was giving a report-back on how the province had fared in the matric exams. This came after Tuesday's announcement by the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, that the province had received a pass rate of 87.23%.

The province was the second-best performing in the country after Free State, which received a pass rate of more than 88%. 

In Gauteng, almost 44,000 of the matriculants who sat for their 2019 final exams received bachelor's degree passes. 

“Gauteng contributed the most candidates qualifying for bachelor studies in 2019, at 43,494. This is up from 41,410 bachelor passes in 2018. Gauteng achieved the best  bachelor-pass rate of all provinces. Nationally, we contributed 23.4% of all bachelors achieved,” Lesufi said.

“Gauteng is still the leading province by virtue of the size of the provincial system. This is despite the increased enrolment compared to 2018,” he said.

More than 30% of pupils (about 30,000) who wrote the exams passed with a diploma pass.

“I am encouraged by the fact that more learners who passed the National Senior Certificate exams in 2019, of 74.73% learners (73,028 of 97,717 learners), passed with a bachelor or diploma pass qualifying them to go into higher education. This is up from 73.97% in 2018,” Lesufi said.

The MEC made special mention of four Gauteng schools, where more than 95% of the pupils who sat the exams received bachelor passes.

The schools were Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool, Hoërskool Garsfontein, Hoërskool Menlopark and Parktown Girls' High School.

There were also several township schools that received a 100% pass rate.

Lesufi named these schools as Diepsloot Secondary School, Rusoord Secondary School, Moditela Secondary School and Prudens Secondary School.

All these schools received a bachelor-pass rate above 60%.

“We have increased the number of schools, including township schools, that have achieved 90% and above pass rates. This year 287 schools achieved above 95%, compared with 250 in 2018. In 2019, 113 schools achieved 100% compared with 108 in 2018.

"I am proud of the township schools that achieved 100%, despite the challenges they face,” said Lesufi.