Don’t be conned by improvement in poorer schools‚ says teachers’ union

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Teachers’ union Naptosa has lauded the improvement in matric results‚ but has also cautioned that it is not true that no-fee schools are “outstripping” fee-paying schools in terms of performance.

During the matric results announcement‚ Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced that university passes in “no fee” schools‚ reached 76‚300; while fee-paying schools produced 67‚867 bachelor passes allowing pupils to apply for university entrance.

Don’t be conned by improvement in poorer schools‚ says teachers’ union Picture: FILE

She said this means in 2017‚ “no fee” schools produced 53% of the bachelor passes‚ “outstripping” fee-paying schools that produced 47% of the bachelor passes.

“This is poignant‚ as it points to a remarkable shift in the balance of forces. From 2015 to date‚ greater equity was observed‚ despite the reality that inequalities still remain in the system‚” Motshekga said.

But Naptosa Executive Secretary Basil Manuel pointed out that the vast majority of schools are no-fee schools‚ meaning one would expect a higher number of passes from them.

Manuel noted that roughly about 75% of schools are no-fee schools and only 25% are schools where parents pay fees.

Motshekga said: “For every fee paying school‚ achieving 80% to 100% of pupils passing‚ there are almost two no-fee schools achieving at the same pass rate.”

Manuel said: “The minister is not comparing oranges with oranges. To say there is an improvement in no-fee schools is true‚ but to say they are ‘outstripping the rest’ is not true.”

He explained the discrepancy is because “the education department is comparing the numbers of pupils [doing well] not the percentage of pupils who got good marks”.

Naptosa President Nkosiphendule Ntantala said the union was pleased there were no leaks during the matric exams.

“The stringent measures employed by the national and provincial departments of education aimed at increasing the integrity of the national senior certificate examination and reducing question paper leakages and copying that marred previous examinations is applauded.”

Ntantala also said that the union was very happy that no school district had less than 50% of all pupils passing‚ an improvement from the previous years.

“This is a major improvement‚” noted Manuel.

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