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DA: 26% of EC learners reached matric

The figures in the Eastern Cape are far below the national average.

FILE: The figures in the Eastern Cape are far below the national average. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Less than a third of learners in the Eastern Cape who enrolled in school twelve years ago will be writing matric exams this year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) revealed on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape Education MEC Mandla Makupula says 74 percent of learners who entered the system in 2001, did not make it to matric in 2012.

Of the 26 percent or 72,354 children who did make it last year, only 14 percent or 39,443 of the total group actually passed matric.

In 2011, the group loss from Grade 1 in 2001 was 76 percent.

Of that group, only 13 percent passed their final exams.

DA shadow Education MEC Edmund van Vuuren (MPL) said, "These alarming statistics is another indictment on the how the education system in the Eastern Cape is far below the national average and how it is failing our children, especially in poor, disadvantaged areas.

"We are cultivating a province of school dropouts with little opportunity of becoming successful job seekers and entrepreneurs."

The national drop-out rate over 12 years of schooling was 52 percent in 2012, and 49 percent in 2011.

Van Vuuren says a core minimum of resources must be guaranteed for each school.

"While reasons for children dropping out of school can be attributed to poverty, teenage pregnancy, lack of interest in schooling and repetition of grades, social problems should not deter us from making our schools places of hope and places of nurture."

The DA vowed to take steps, including linking schooling to child support grants, to reduce the drop-out rates.