Almost 30,000 NW learners dropped out of school before reaching matric

Issued by Winston Rabotapi MPL – DA North West Spokesperson on Education
20 Jan 2023 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find linked soundbites in English and Setswana by Winston Rabotapi MPL.

The DA congratulates each North West matriculant in the Class of 2022 who passed their final examinations despite the odds of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the extended lockdowns which disrupted education and the extended Eskom rolling blackouts stacked against them.

We also extend our thanks and appreciation to all teachers and staff members who went above and beyond to ensure that matriculants were afforded the support they needed to complete their matric final examinations under very challenging circumstances.

To those matriculants who failed to pass their matric, this is not the end. There are many avenues available to you to obtain your senior certificate qualification. Either through sitting for supplementary examinations or to enrol in any TVET college.

The official North West matric pass rate as announced by the Department of Education is recorded at 79.8%, a 1.6% increase from the previous year. However, this pass rate does not account for the 27,243 learners who dropped out of the school system since Grade 10 in 2020.

Considering the high drop-out rate, the real matric pass rate in North West is actually 49.2%. This means that half of the of the 71 066 pupils who began Grade 10 in 2020, failed to complete matric.

The province further dropped in its provincial ranking from being in the 4th position in 2021 to the 5th spot in 2022.

The North West is a rural province where learners face an array challenges. These include having to study while faced with high levels of poverty and unemployment, schools that are located far from their homes, an unreliable scholar transport system, as well as a poor school infrastructure – a matter which the DA brought before the Human Rights Commission for investigation.

Eskom’s extended rolling blackouts have also made it difficult for teachers to teach and learners to study. It also disrupts school attendance.

The DA will engage the North West MEC of Education, Viola Motsumi, to establish a system to account for all learners who drop out of the school system before completing their final matric examinations, so as to develop a support plan for these pupils to assist them with completing their studies towards obtaining their senior certificate qualification.

MEC Motsumi, along with the relevant stakeholders, should prioritise school infrastructure maintenance, so that North West schools can become centres of excellence in to capacitate learners with the knowledge and skills they need to live successful and productive lives in adulthood.

If we are to tackle the issue of high youth unemployment in the North West, quality education for all is the first step towards prosperity.