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Experts doubtful over matric pass rate

Prof Jonathan Jansen has warned that the pass rate is deceptive.

Professor Jonathan Jansen says nothing will change in the state of South Africa’s education until those in charge accept the scale of the crisis. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Education expert and Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State Jonathan Jansen says nothing will change in the state of South Africa's education system until those in charge accept the scale of the crisis.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is due to reveal the latest national matric pass rate later today.

The announcement will be made live on television at 6pm.

The results of more than 500,000 full-time and 130,000 part-time registered matriculants will be published online and in print media tomorrow morning.

The pass rate is widely expected to rise from just under 74% to 75% or higher.

Motshekga is likely to praise the work of her department in stabilising the country's education system.

But Jansen warned that the pass rate is deceptive and the quality of education remains a massive challenge.

"We put more money as a percentage of GDP into education than almost any country in Africa, even Botswana, and yet we are almost right at the bottom of poorer countries when it comes to science and maths achievements."

Jansen says the struggle during apartheid was not about scraping through, but about raising the next generation of Nelson Mandelas.

He says the state of education will only change once those in charge stop being in denial about the extent of the crisis.

"We can do much better than this and the truth is, while there is this denial in officialdom about the state of the crisis in education, there is nothing you can do about it. Blind people don't know they are blind and there's nothing you can do to make them see."

Meanwhile, the Department of Basic Education says it's ready to celebrate the achievements of the class of 2013.

Department spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi says only one district in the country has achieved a pass rate of lower than 60 percent.

Lesufi added that despite those results, all districts in the country have performed very well.

"It's an indication that the system is stable and we can look forward to exciting news."

Last week, the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) announced a matric pass rate of 98.6 percent, an improvement from 2012's 98.2 percent.

But Lesufi says the IEB results cannot be compared with those at public schools.

"To compare a cheetah and tortoise is very difficult."

Matrics who didn't achieve the results they were hoping for will be able to register for supplementary examinations that will be written in February.

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