Limpopo has highest number of 0% pass rate schools

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said this year’s pass rate was the highest in the past 25 years.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said this year’s pass rate was the highest in the past 25 years.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

Despite an increase in the pass rate from 2018 to 2019, more schools have recorded 0% pass rates, the department of basic education’s performance report found.

The report indicated that while 12 schools across the country recorded a 0% pass rate in 2018, in 2019 the number went up to 17.

Limpopo was the worst offender. The affected schools were in the Capricorn North, Mogalakwena, Sekhukhune East and South districts.

DA shadow minister for basic education Nomsa Marchesi said schools in Limpopo had been underperforming for several years.

The province with the second highest number of schools with a 0% pass rate was the Eastern Cape. The districts affected there included Amathole East, Buffalo City and Chris Hani East.

Other provinces with schools recording a 0% pass rate included Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Marchesi said the party would write to basic education minister Angie Motshekga to address the “burning issue”.

The department of basic education was not immediately available for comment.

Education expert Wayne Hugo said most of the 0% pass rate schools had small classrooms and could have struggled with teachers.

“With schools like that, chances are that most of the parents had already pulled their children out of the schools.

“Parents pull their kids out of non-performing schools and put them in performing schools.”

A second factor was that the schools could be fairly new or isolated, said Hugo.

“The more isolated they [schools] are, the harder it is to get the full sweep of specialist teachers.

“You land up with teachers who are not specialists, are teaching because they don’t have other teachers. You could also land up in a multi-grade situation.”

In most cases it would be better to close dysfunctional schools and put in place travelling plans to get pupils to performing schools, he said.

When announcing the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results on Tuesday evening, Motshekga said the national pass rate had increased from 78.2% in 2018 to 81.3% in 2019.

She said this year’s pass rate was the highest in the past 25 years.

The number of candidates achieving admission to Bachelor's Degree programmes increased from 172,043 in 2018 to 186,058.

A total of 790,405 candidates sat for 147 question papers in 7,416 examination centres nationwide. A further 212 pupils wrote at correctional facilities.

The top performing province was the Free State, with a pass rate of 88.4%.

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