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Published: 17 Jul 2012
|Rippling Effect of the Lowering of Standards of Basic Education|
Matric pass rate and standards
Since the introduction of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) in 2008 there have been great celebrations in Government as the pass rate increases. The pass rate for the NSC since its inception is as follows:
Polticsweb “2011 matric pass rate 70.2%”, Angies Motshekga
NSC is based on the National Curriculum Statements (NCS) which requires Grade 10 to Grade 12 to take seven subjects which has to consist of two languages, life orientation and a choice between mathematics and mathematical literacy. Learners have to achieve either 40% or 30% in six of subjects and less than 30% in the seventh subject in order to pass the NSC examination.
This means that leaners only need to know 30% of the syllabus in order to pass matric.
Vice- Chancellors and lecturers of various universities are complaining not only of the number of students that are being allowed into university due to the lowering of the pass mark but also the low standard of the NSC. Since the introduction of the NSC there has clearly been a huge ‘gap’ between school and university standards which makes it very difficult for the learners to pass. Percentage of learners who have been admitted into Bachelor’s Studies since 2008 is as follows:
Universities have to fill this ‘gap’ by implementing initiatives and programmes to equip the learners with the knowledge to cope with the university standard. The University of the Free State (UFS) has introduced an “extended education” programme which requires struggling learners to invest an additional year or two in university preparation. It seems like the learners and the universities are bearing the cost of the inadequacies of the education system.
In 2012, more than 180 000 learners were turned away from the country’s top nine institutions, which gives them no alternative but to graduate from weaker universities. This in turn results in our graduates being unemployable as they lack the basic skills required in a workplace.
Implications for corporate South Africa
What does this mean for corporate South Africa? There is clearly a need for corporates to equip the learners with the skills required to cope in the workplace including introduction of additional training courses and mentorship programmes in the work environment.
Increased donations are a step in the right direction as these learners are the future workforce and the cost ultimately will vest in corporate South Africa due to the increase in unemployable graduates. However, monetary donations are definitely not the only solution. Well thought out initiatives should be implemented. One such initiative is the donation of maths and science textbooks for Grades 10, 11 and 12 from the Shuttleworth Foundation. Another good initiative as suggested by Paul Fick (Jasco Enterprise Divisional Managing Director) in the article “Corporate investment pivotal to South African education” is the investment in “Education technology”. This initiative entails a corporate sponsoring a classroom. This sponsorship will equip the classroom with the technology to allow both learners and teachers to have 24 hour access to learning resources.
Corporate investment in education should be done strategically in order for the educators to become inspired and for learners to benefit.
Unemployment and South Africa’s Target for 2020
The South African government set a target of creating 5 million jobs by 2020. South Africa’s unemployment rate was 23.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011 which equates to 4.24 million unemployed people in South Africa as quoted by Statistics South Africa. The continued decrease in the standard of basic education will result in this statistic increasing and not decreasing as expected by government. The target set by government will not be achieved unless the education standards are raised.
Future of South Africa
A quote by Jim Evans: “Our students learn more in 30 days than one could learn in 30 years without our training. To really maximize your potential as an umpire, you need to get a solid foundation as soon as you can.”
This quote is very appropriate with regard to the future of South Africa, as if something is not done to rectify standard of education soon we are going to experience the gradual fall of the largest African economy as South Africa’s potential will never be realised.
If you would like to have a more detailed discussion on the subject of education and its impact on your business contact Kuvani Naidoo (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nisha Dharamlall (email@example.com).