Gauteng and Western Cape battle for matric supremacy

Joyous 2015 Alex High School matric pupils celebrate after obtaining their results.

This as other contests also rage on for third and fourth place between the North West and Free State; for eighth and ninth position between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape; and for fifth, sixth and seventh positions between Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

The Western Cape reclaimed the lead from Gauteng in the latest 2015 contest with 84.7 percent pass from the previous year’s second position of 82.2 percent. It also topped with the best performing student nationally.

However, Gauteng can still claim some bragging rights over its adversary coming in at a marginally lower second with 84.2 percent from the previous year’s lead of 84.7 percent. The average for the two-year contest still favours Gauteng with 84.4 percent against the Western Cape’s 83.4 percent. Gauteng can lay claim for the best performing district for last year with Sedibeng East scoring a 90.4 percent pass mark and placing seven of the 10 best performing districts nationally.

The duel, which was revealed by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, was impacted by the overall slump of five percent in the national pass rate from 75.8 percent in 2014 to 70.7 percent last year. Despite the drop, Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng MEC for Education, alluded that the contest should be encouraged as a foundation for educational improvements as it provides positive competition in the interest of the following generations of matrics. It should spur other provinces to join in the competition to better the pass rate. The top position should never be the preserve of the two leading protagonists as not nature but commitment makes them claim the position as their own.

This as some schools in more rural provinces have in the past achieved a 100 percent pass mark with limited resources.

Western Cape’s MEC for Education, Debbie Schafer, expressed overall excitement in the healthy duel in an SABC interview.

Schafer attributed their 2015 matric results lead to:

  • Holding those responsible for education accountable for their performance and actions
  • Conducting regular systemic tests and evaluation of the education processes
  • Engaging the best and most competent officials and avoiding political appointments
  • Conducting competency tests when appointing principals
  • Managing the limited allocated resources well which continue to dwindle annually
  • Providing remedial support to students in need.

She identified the main challenges as comprising the socio-economic conditions of some of the students, limited resources, corruption, political interference in some appointments and the lack of innovation necessary for continuous improvement.

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