Every year we have our national jamboree and the media focuses on the schooling system for 2 weeks before it gets back to its usual diet of politics, corruption, celebrities and soapies. Looking through the DBE’s reports on the matric exam (all here) I am really impressed with what they manage to achieve in such a short space of time! I do want to write an article or two on Matric 2018 but for now here are some of my thoughts…
(1) STATISTICS: The matric pass rate seen in isolation is misleading. Remember that the widely-reported matric pass rate is just the number of full-time matrics passing divided by the number of full-time matrics writing (400,761 / 512,700 = 78%). However if we look at the cohort in Grade 1 there were about 1 million learners (according to the Education Statistics at a Glance 2007). [Note there are some repeaters in here. There are probably about 925,000 learners in this cohort – see Gustafsson, 2018]. So the throughput matric pass rate from Grade 1 is around 40-43%.
(2) GENDER: For every 100 girls in matric there are only 82 boys. There are lots of reasons for this (see Van Broekhuizen & Spaull, 2017), but basically girls do better than boys at most school subjects and drop out at lower rates.
(3) SPECIAL NEEDS: Only 12% of the SA population live in WC but 64% of Special Needs matric candidates come from WC. Every year when I read through the
#Matric2018 reports I’m shocked by the stats on Learners with Special Needs. If you’re a parent with a Special Needs child you basically want to be in the Western Cape.
(4) PROGRESS: There has been clear progress in a number of indicators over the last 10 years. Improvements in TIMSS, as well as increases in the numbers of Bachelor passes and passes in maths and science.