The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West has noted the official 2019 pass rate of 86.8%, placing the province third in the country.
Although this is an improvement from 81.1% in 2018, celebrating the top three ranking is misplaced considering the high drop-out rate.
From the 62 766 Grade 10 learners that enrolled in 2017, more than 20 000 dropped out before matriculating, leaving the North West with a real pass rate of only 37.1%.
The drop-out rate, combined with the poor quality of education, is a recipe for disaster. Many of these youth will struggle to find employment and if they do, it will be for menial labour, locking them in a cycle of hardship and poverty.
The Department is not doing the learners any favours by setting low standards in basic education simply to pursue improved statistical outputs. The conditions that learners are expected to perform under remain extremely poor. Ongoing school safety challenges, poor infrastructure, shortage of schools and unrealistic teacher / learner ratios continue to plague this province.
We congratulate every matriculant that worked hard in the face of all these hardships and also thank those teachers who walked the extra mile to ensure that learners are equipped for the next phase of their lives.
We further commend the 2019 matriculants at the 12 high schools around Klerksdorp who were affected by service delivery protests during their final exams. The fact that 9 out of these 12 schools did well is an achievement of note.
We also single out the 2019 matric class of Thuto Lore Secondary School in Bloemhof, who had to be moved overnight to safety after the community threatened to disrupt their examinations. Despite difficult circumstances, they still managed to achieve an 80% pass rate, showing true determination.
The fact that the Western Cape once again achieved the highest real pass rate, is a clear indication that the DA is committed to safeguard the future of our youth.