THE headline in Thursday's Herald, "Plenty of options for pupils who failed", really irked me.
Eastern Cape Education Department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani needs to think realistically before making such statements as "failing is not the end of the world, they can go to any of the eight FETs. No one should sit at home".
Here is the reality, Loyiso.
The Fort Beaufort district is one of the worst three performing school districts in the country.
Rural schools in Fort Beaufort and surrounding villages are overcrowded. They lack basic infrastructure and equipment.
Pupils walk long distances in all weathers to and from school, and often arrive hungry. There is a high failure rate.
There is chronic unemployment. Parents struggle to put food on the table each day.
Realistically, Loyiso, you tell me how the many failed matriculants are going to be able to afford enrolment at either the FET in Alice or King William's Town, plus taxi fares, plus books and stationery, plus sundry items needed for the variety of subjects on offer? No, Loyiso, realistically these ex-pupils will either sit at home because there is no work, or become bored and roam the streets, or be enticed into another world which may involve petty crime or drugs, because there is where the money is.
Some may even see pregnancy as a way out of poverty, child grants are readily available. A few enterprising individuals may be able to earn money washing cars or gardening.
That is reality in the rural Eastern Cape, Loyiso.
Isn't it about time something realistic is done to improve the conditions of rural schools in the Eastern Cape?
Jan Hopkins, Fort Beaufort