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Our work to encourage them to study bears fruit: Lamola praises inmate matrics

Justice minister Ronald Lamola.
Justice minister Ronald Lamola.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

“We need to encourage them to work hard and study so they can improve themselves.”

So said justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola as he celebrated the achievements of inmates who sat for matric last year.

Those who wrote the exams achieved an 87.5% pass rate, an improvement of 10.5 percentage points on the previous year.

Of the 203 inmates who wrote the exams, 122 (52.8%) received bachelor’s passes, 56 (24.2%) received diploma passes and 10.4% achieved higher certificates.

Lamola said 77% of offenders who wrote exams qualified for access to tertiary education at a university or college, adding that prisoners younger than 35 must study to give hope when they return to their communities.

“This shows that our work to encourage them to study and work hard bears fruit, which we believe is a good investment for society because it will enable them when they are released to be productive people in the economy or society,” the minister said.

However, Lamola said the department would not pay for inmates to further their studies.

“We don't have a budget to further their studies. It is the families of inmates or inmates themselves who pay for higher education. What we provide is an enabling environment for them to study ... at the level of basic education.”

The matric class of 2022 achieved an 80.1% pass rate, up from 76.4% the year before, with the pass rate for inmates higher than this.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said the National Senior Certificate pass rate has consistently increased since 2009, when it was 60%.

Motshekga said 920,634 pupils registered for the examination. Of these, 752,003 were full-time candidates and 168,631 part-timers.

She said 834,565 full-time and part-time candidates sat for the 2022 examination.

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