Statement during announcement of the National Senior Certificate Grade 12 Examination results for 2010 by Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education
6 Jan 2011We are up to the challenge!
Thank you very much for honouring us with your presence in this press briefing. We appreciate your interest in the results of the National Senior Certificate Grade 12. A word of welcome also to all education stakeholders who are here with us.
Your presence shows that education is a top priority. It is an essential driver of social change, human development and economic growth.
To a very large extent, our hopes for a better life which the ruling party has committed to deliver for all our people are centred around education.
Quality of results
As South Africa congratulates the Class of 2010, let it be known that we have consistently worked hard to ensure the integrity, credibility and legitimacy of exams.
For us examinations are high stakes. They draw attention from all quarters of society. The National Senior Certificate is in its 3rd year. Hence the value and credibility we place on exams. We can confidently say the results we are publishing today are a true reflection of learner achievement.
Our Department has an obligation to our country to ensure that examination processes are conducted fairly and without any interference. This applied equally to the Class of 2010.
Umalusi, the quality assurer, has the sole statutory mandate to ensure examination results are credible and that all processes meet exacting standards.
On 24 December 2010, Umalusi convened the standardisation meeting at which performance in each subject was analysed statistically and qualitatively to ensure current performance was in keeping with performance in previous years. This standardisation process follows international best practice. We have full confidence in the independent quality assurance procedures of Umalusi. We therefore thank this quality shepherd, Umalusi, for a job well done.
Previous Grade 12 pass rate
The Grade 12 National Senior Certificate examination is one of the instruments for measuring how government is doing in discharging its responsibility of improving quality of education.
In the past years, there has been a gradual decline. In 2009 the pass rate was 60.6% and in 2008 it was 62.5%. As I said during last year's matric results press briefing, this decline was a real cause for concern.
The Class of 2010: Historic examination
The 2010 National Senior Certificate examination proceeded smoothly showing our system is stabilising. We have consistently worked on improving the administration of the exam process. It is pleasing to note that there was no major administrative challenge like leaking of examination papers.
Also pleasing, as with the 2009 results, is the fact that Umalusi was able to use raw scores for the majority of subjects.
Out of the 58 subjects that were standardised, 39 subjects were accepted as raw scores. Of those that were adjusted, 10 were taken down and 9 were taken up.
This adds to the huge strides we have made in education since the 1994 democratic breakthrough. We can lay a legitimate claim to steady progress in transforming the education system.
South Africa in 2010
We were motivated by the clarion call made by President Jacob Zuma that we should all prioritise education and make it a societal issue. I believe our efforts were also reinforced by the positive spirit mobilised globally in support of upping our efforts in education, including the 1 Goal Education Campaign.
2010 was an extraordinary year for all South Africans, particularly so for learners. Our learners have done us proud in the great year of the first FIFA World Cup on African soil. Their unrelenting determination is commendable. The Class of 2010 was simply distinctive.
Provincial Education Departments worked very hard from the beginning of the year. They placed serious emphasis on Saturday and holiday programmes in the light of the World Cup.
This momentous event, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was not a disruption. We knew it was coming. We had planned for it, and this is what motivated our schools, teachers, learners, parents and School Governing Bodies to go the extra mile.
Disruptions caused by the teachers' strike introduced another dimension. They made people work even more harder. Intensive study camps were organised and post-strike recovery programmes were initiated. It was indeed business unusual.
The 2010 national pass rate
Over the years, our country has endeavoured to achieve a national pass rate of at least 70%. Last year, I renewed this commitment, by putting upfront our target of achieving a 10% improvement by 2014.
[Allow me to invite Deputy Minister Surty to the stage to reveal with me the pass rate for 2010]
I am pleased to announce that the national pass rate for the Class of 2010 is 67.8%. It represents an impressive increase of a whopping 7.2% on the 2009 results (60.6%), just 2.8% short of 10%.
I guess the teachers' strike robbed us of this percentage and hope that with more support for supplementary exams we will be able to get the additional -3%.
Indeed we are definitely turning the tide and are rolling back the downward spiral of the past years. In the light of the challenges of 2010, a national pass rate of 67.8% is a remarkable achievement we must all write home about. 364 513 learners out of a total of 537 543 have passed. These impressive results demand that I take my hat off to the Class of 2010. I am emboldened by the daring morale learners have displayed with many having formed detachments and burning the midnight oil.
I am pleased to announce that the percentage of Grade 12 learners who have qualified to enter a Bachelor's programme has gone up to 23.5% from 19.9% in 2009. This means that in 2010, 126 371 learners attained entry into a Bachelor's programme, up from 109 697 in 2009.
A total of 124 749 learners have passed Mathematics, (down from 133 505 in 2009). 98 260 learners have passed Physical Science (up from 81 356 in 2009). We are certainly not happy with the current number of passes in Mathematics and have planned to continue investing significant effort and resources in ensuring that the pass rate as well as quality of Mathematics is significantly improved this year.
The provincial pass rates are as follows: Gauteng achieved the highest pass rate in the country with 78.6% from 71.8% in 2009. This represents an improvement of 6.8%. Western Cape achieved 76.8%, an improvement of 1.1% from 75.7% in 2009. North West achieved 75.7%, up from 67.5%, an improvement of 8.2%. Northern Cape achieved 72.3%, up from 61.3% in 2009. It has registered the highest margin of improvement by a province, at an impressive 11%.
KwaZulu-Natal has achieved 70.7%, representing the second largest improvement by a province, of 9.6%, from 61.1%.
Free State has achieved 70.7%, up from 69.4%, an improvement of 1.3%. Eastern Cape 58.3%, up from 51% in 2009, an improvement of 7.3%. Limpopo obtained 57.9%, up from 48.9%, representing the third largest improvement by a province, of 9.0%. Mpumalanga reached 56.8%, up from 47.9%, this is an improvement of 8.9%.
When I announced results for 2009, I indicated that the National Department and the Mpumalanga Education Department would jointly administer the National Senior Certificate examinations in Mpumalanga. We thank the provincial department for its cooperation during this period.
Umalusi has reported that the integrity of the conduct of exams in Mpumalanga in 2010 was beyond reproach. Henceforth, the NSC exams in the province will be conducted by the provincial department, of course, with support from the national department.
We congratulate the Northern Cape for surpassing the 10% mark set for 2014 within a year, and KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo for just being on the border of the set 10% also within the year ahead of the time agreed upon.
There is no turning back, the improvements have to be sustained, we have to push hard enough for the 70% mark in 2011 and beyond.
A total of 1003 schools in quintiles 1, 2 and 3 obtained pass rates above 80%. Of these schools, 127 achieved 100% pass rate.
While we celebrate the 504 public schools that obtained 100% passes and 1638 schools that scored between 80% and 99%, there is no doubt that there are still many more schools that need our attention and action.
Bohlabela (Bushbuckridge), in the Mpumalanga Province, which was the lowest performing district in 2009, at 28% pass rate, has now improved its pass rate to 40.1%.
With my colleague, Deputy Minister Enver Surty, we will continue to work with and through provinces to target districts for special support.
On my part, I have already instructed my office to plan a visit for me to Bohlabela (Bushbuckridge) before the end of January so that again with the MEC we can work out ways of providing more assistance to this district.
Provinces will be requested to prepare intervention strategies for all the schools performing below the national average, especially those performing under 50%. The newly established delivery unit under the strategic branch in the national department will monitor those plans continuously.
Education is a societal issue
I thank, from the bottom of my heart, all South Africans who supported the Class of 2010 voluntarily.
Among the many South Africans who responded to our call for the support of the Class of 2010, I'd like to mention people like Sthe Phutsisi who represented Ernst & Young, and, on its behalf, supported us immensely in the area of Maths, Accounting and English.
I thank also David O'Sullivan who through his radio programme made it possible for us to get in touch with David Silman, one of the many people who helped us greatly.
We thank all the pastors from the Riverlea and Bosmont areas who opened their churches for us, mobilised teachers to volunteer in the enrichment programmes and, on top of that, even fed learners from their own meagre resources.
Mosques, churches and synagogues were made available for extra classes. To those pastors out there and leaders of different faith-based organisations, I say 'thank you very much'.
I, unfortunately, don't have the time and space to mention and recognise all persons nationally who responded to our call to support the Class of 2010. Many South African companies came forward. They are too many to list, but all very important.
The role of education NGOs was also highly valuable. I'd like to thank Kagiso Trust, Jet, Molteno and many other local NGOs which tapped into their resources to help the Class of 2010.
My greatest respect and appreciation go to parents who rallied behind the class of 2010.
I am grateful for other key interventions which paid dividends, such as the Dinaledi Schools programme with its emphasis on improving performance in Maths, Physical Science and Accounting.
We reinforced all these efforts with sustained support for underperforming schools and their principals.
We are proud of our learners, teachers, families and communities for making it clear that South Africans are taking responsibility for cultivating a culture of quality education in line with the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign.
SABC TV and radio stations and ntate Solly Mokoetle who spent hours with us strategising on how the SABC could be of assistance, thank you very much for your support.
We extend the same words of appreciation to Lead South Africa, led by Yusuf Abramjee, for a brilliant and very effective campaign in support of our Class of 2010, to etv, Mindset Network and all media houses.
Without your help, I am sure we would not be celebrating today. You did a splendid job in support of our efforts and showed that education is indeed a societal issue.
I will be failing in my duties if I fail to thank our organised parents' organisations that also assisted a great deal and were ready for meetings at short notice. Thank you very much.
Working together has paid dividends and I wish we could work together even more in 2011 and beyond.
A word of thanks to different teachers' unions and all educators. We had our challenges in 2010 but as the saying goes, 'all is well that ends well'.
During and after the strike, many teachers intensified their efforts to help prepare learners for exams.
Thanks, a million times, to all traditional leaders in different parts of the country who also came to the party. Your subjects needed you in 2010, they continue to do so.
Please continue with all the support programmes you have initiated. We wish to invite all other traditional leaders to come to the rescue.
I thank and commend my colleague, Deputy Minister Surty, and our DG, Bobby Soobrayan, for ably and skilfully steering the ship when the sea was rough.
I must mention with appreciation our learners' organisations. Although their actions at some stage almost derailed us, I'm happy that they came to their senses and accepted that marks are earned and not just given. They should be happy that they listened and went back to their books to earn their marks. They can be proud that what they have today is a true and honest reflection of their knowledge.
As the national department of education, we want to express our gratitude to education MECs, HODs, provincial officials and the team at national office for their dedication and sterling work. They carry the burden of ensuring that things work and are at the coalface of all the challenges. Thank you very much to all of you for all the great work.
What is to be done?
The Class of 2010 has shown us there is no mountain we can't climb when we are up to the challenge.
Learning from the first President of democratic South Africa, former President Nelson Mandela, we shall not forget that "after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. We dare not linger, for our long walk is not yet ended".
The 2010 exam results will be rigorously analysed in order to inform the system of where further interventions are necessary.
The Action Plan and priority areas
Last year, during the announcement of matric results, we said we will develop an education sector plan that will be "a blueprint for action". Accordingly, we have produced Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 which specifies clear outputs and deliverables. This Action Plan aims to assist in improving our learning outcomes.
Following discussions with education MECs, we have agreed on key priority areas for 2011. In December (2010), we also interacted with district managers and have shared these priorities with officials at national office.
There is consensus that we need to focus on putting plans into real action, evaluate, monitor and deepen accountability measures in the entire system.
In 2010, during our Budget Speech, we indicated that we will start a process of assessing our learners at the different exit points through Annual National Assessments in literacy and numeracy that are internationally benchmarked and the grades in question are 3, 6 and 9.
These assessments are much bigger in numbers as compared to matric exams. They will help in tracking progress and in promoting quality teaching and learning throughout the entire system.
Annual National Assessments will take place in February 2011. The Department will publish the results of schools through the media, between March and April.
From 2011, we will continue to focus on the curriculum as our core business ensuring it comes first in all we do.
The Ministerial Project Committee which is overseeing the development of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) has reported good progress. To date, CAPS for 40 of the 41 content subjects have been finalized and are ready for editing. Life Skills CAPS for the Foundation Phase will be finalised by 14 January 2011. The versioning of CAPS for languages is also in its final stages.
Teacher development will be intensified to prepare educators for the implementation of the revised CAPS.
Work on improving performance in Maths and Science will also be intensified; more details on this will be made public in due course. The role of technology as an enabler in education will also receive due attention.
School Infrastructure is a crucial issue greatly affecting quality of teaching and learning. With resources allocated by Cabinet, at the end of 2010, we will be able to start dealing with inappropriate school structures, such as mud, tin and other unsuitable materials.
We will build and renovate laboratories, libraries, specialist rooms and administration blocks where there are none. Between 2011 and 2014, we are committed to addressing all our sanitation and water supply challenges.
For this year, the aim is to deal with basic functionality of all our schools once and for all. Provinces have committed to prioritising their budgets for this purpose.
We have identified textbooks and other learning and teaching materials as a priority. We are proud of the progress we have made on workbooks which have been developed with huge savings.
For 2011, with the savings we have made in the production and printing of workbooks, we will strive to ensure that all learners between Grades 10 and 12 in the poor quintiles have a book in every subject.
Our target is to ensure full coverage of learner support materials by 2014. We have agreed with all the provinces on a different procurement system which would enable us to benefit from economies of scale - with few carefully selected titles.
Message to the Class of 2010
I take this opportunity to congratulate all learners who have made it against all odds.
Those who have not succeeded should not despair. They have come a long way, almost 12 years of schooling, and should therefore take advantage of options our Department has made available. They must explore second chance opportunities, such as supplementary exams and re-writes, rather than declaring themselves losers after a 12 year race. As they say, 'perseverance is the mother of success'.
Those that qualify for supplementary exams should go straight to their books and prepare, and those that have not made it should use this year to prepare for the next round of exams. With additional effort, they will succeed.
We welcome the Class of 2011.
We pulled together during the World Cup. We must continue pooling our resources in support of our learners and start the race on day one, and sustain it until the last day of exams.
We wish all learners the very best in this new academic year and call upon all to assist us to improve on this year's results, and more importantly, on performance in the entire sector.
Please pay special interest in the ANA results too and let's support all learners from Grade 1 up to Grade 12.
The noble values enshrined in our Constitution must be cultivated and nurtured from the cradle to the grave.
The ultimate goal is a cultured, values-driven, conscious and empowered citizen alive to the vision of building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.
I take this opportunity to invite all the people in our country to help us pass with flying colours our 'make or break' test - that of delivering an improved quality of basic education. This way, and only this way, can our country best meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2014.
We cannot educate the citizens without the citizens.
Working together we can do more to make tomorrow better than today. I am confident that as South Africans, without doubt, we are up to the challenge and succeed we will!
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Basic Education
6 Jan 2011
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