Large number of matrics obtained university entrance

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to announce this year’s matric results next week.

FILE: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Basic Education Department says a large number of pupils, who have passed Grade 12, have obtained university entrance.

Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to announce this year's matric results next week.

Quality assurance body, Umalusi said the public is in for a slight shock as the pass rate is lower than last year.

The department's Elijah Mhlanga said, "When the minister releases the data on 5 January, you'll be shocked.

You're going to see that a lot of them have passed and a good percentage of them have actually obtained bachelor's degree passes which means a good number of them will now be abler to get university admission."

Umalusi has attributed the drop in the results to a large number of grade 11 pupils, who were pushed through to grade 12, without achieving the required marks.

But Mhlanga said it's only fair to give these pupils a fair chance.

"But if you had said don't progress to grade 12 because you're struggling here, you would have denied them that opportunity. So it's not fair not to give them an opportunity to see if they can pass or not."

Umalusi's John Volmink said while there were compelling reasons to adjust this year's exam papers, it will not address the root of the problem.

"We can't fix education on these grounds, on making adjustments, that's not an improvement and progress."

Volmink said interventions should take place in the classroom.

"But the difference can only happen in the classroom. There has to be better teaching and learning."

Umalusi said while it cannot pin point the exact factors that caused this year's drop, it's investigating the matter to avoid a repeat in 2016.

However, Volmink said after studying the results, he's still satisfied.

"Nothing has compromised the integrity and credibility of the examination process."

The assurance body said the performance of pupils in mathematics, science and accounting continues to decline and has called for urgent intervention.

Meanwhile, Umalusi said 26 alleged cases of group copying occurred during the 2015 matric exams.

Incidents have been reported in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

In the latest case, two people were arrested for leaking the life sciences papers in Limpopo.

Volmink said, "In Gauteng, six [cheating incidents were reported], KwaZulu-Natal, 12, Limpopo, one, Mpumalanga, seven. Further investigations are underway; and the results from the implicated centres will remain blocked."