Recently nominated Mampara of the Week by The Times, education minister Naledi Pandor is currently fumbling around trying to figure out what happened to missing matriculation results for thousands of students and spinning a success story for what is clearly a system that has failed many young people in South Africa.
If we’re going to measure the effectiveness of an education system, we should use the correct measures to do so. Kind of like Outcome Based Education, funny enough – we should be measuring how well the final goal of schooling is being achieved: viz. preparing youth to become productive members of society – be it immediately after school through employment or after some tertiary education. A rubbish figure like the national matric pass rate does not measure this.
The pass rate is not an accurate reflection of the capability of students -ask most reputable tertiary institutions whether the quality of South African school leavers is still at the same level as it was 5 years ago and they will clearly answer NO. The pass rate hasn’t changed much though, has it? The national pass rate figure is about as flexible as circus contortionist – the education department can play with a number of variables, including the pass mark, to achieve their target pass rate. This however does not benefit the graduating school student. He or she may have passed due to the lower standard but they are being released into the world ill-prepared for both employment and tertiary education. And that is a failure of our education system, not of our students.