TEACHERS’ improved understanding and delivery of the curriculum may be behind the massive increase in the number of Eastern Cape pupils who went on to pass matric last year.
While the beleaguered province’s matric pass rate for last year was the lowest in the country, with a 0.2% dip from the previous year, a recent study found there was a 30% increase in the number of Grade 10 pupils who went on to obtain their matric.
Figures released by the SA Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) showed that the number of pupils in Grade 10 in 2009 who obtained their basic matric last year had increased by 30% from those who were in Grade 10 in 2006 and matriculated in 2008.
Noting a national increase in the throughput rate from 31% in the 2006-2008 cohort to 35% in 2009-2011, the study found that Mpumalanga had scored highest at 35%.
The findings – based on data from the Basic Education Department – showed that of the 150372 Grade 10 pupils in 2009, 68069 had gone on to matric, with only 37997 passing.
SAIRR researcher Jonathan Snyman said while the institute could not say why there was this upturn in the throughput rate, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had attributed it to teachers’ improved understanding of the curriculum.
"Due to limited data, we could not provide the reasons for the increase, but during the release of last year’s matric results, the minister said teachers had been able to consolidate and properly understand what they were teaching,” he said.
The Western Cape recorded a 21% increase, while Gauteng saw a marginal increase of only 2%. The Free State and Northern Cape showed a drop of 2% and 15% respectively.
In 2010, only 34% of pupils who were in Grade 10 in 2008 had passed matric, raising concerns at the high dropout rate.
In the 2010 study, the institute identified lack of funding as a major contributor to the dropout rate.
Other reasons were that pupils had left school to look for work or because they believed being at school was not relevant to their lives.