ANC Back to School Programme: Western Cape Education and the township neglect that lay beneath
10 January 2017
Western Cape Pupils achieved a pass rate of 86% in the 2016 Matric results, a slight increase from 84.7% in 2015. This follows a general trend, with 82.8% in 2012, 85.1% In 2013, 82.2% in 2014, which reflects an education strategy that is marooned and stuck, incapable of reaching its provincial targets and the full potential of its learners.
African National Congress is of the view that the Western Cape provincial government has reached the limits of its capacity and Ideas and must face a reality that provinces less historically privileged than itself continue to exceed it as it stands still. Why is it then that the Western Cape is not living up to its maximum potential given the many factors that should be working in its favor. Firstly the Western Cape has a significant number of high-schools with over 100 years of cultural capital, the established support structures in those high-schools, a department led by those who share in that cultural capital, the many tests conducted by the department in an adhoc fashion throughout the year, and the share of the provincial budget. All these point to Matric results that should always be on a significant positive trajectory.
The answer to such stagnation is simple. As any basic economics will tell you, there can be no significant improvements if your focus of improvements is on already developed areas. A school that achieved 95% pass rate a year before, irrespective of how many resources and support structures provided, has only 5% of improvement to be expected, nothing more. If however you shift resources to schools that have been achieving 60% to 70%, any concentration of resources and support to those schools has a potential of 30 - 40% improvements. Its that simple.
The community understands this, which is why, in Grabouw, led by the ANC, the community took responsibility for the school, Umyezo High Schoo, which had been plagued by numerous problems, internal and external, at some point being closed, a non-responsive provincial government to all requests for intervention, with petitions to national government for intervention and ultimately a school that today boasts, 83% pass rate, from last years 53%, a whooping 30% leap. The people in the Townships also expect provincial government to underwrite the success of provincial schools. When all the 57 bottom performing schools are in the townships, the people have a reason to protest and picket because they know what a little attention can do to the improvement of education results. Schools like Langa high school 33.4% pass, Masiphumelele High School 48.9%, a farm school Murraysburg High School 44.4%, and many others, all achieving more or less the same results in the previous years, exposes this inability of the provincial government to have a strategy that can shift results
The DA's provincial government must be honest that it is schools like MCGREGOR WALDORF SCHOOL with 7 students in their matric class, 7 students who pass and therefore 100% pass rate that constitute their 86% average, not the neglected schools like Langa Highschool, with 137 students who wrote exams and 33.4% outcome. It is this level of honesty that will ensure that we make the leap we need in percentages.
The provincial department has never had a concrete plan for under-performing schools. Here are the areas that the provincial department has failed significantly in and should not be expecting improved results as long as they persist.
1. Their E-Learning and After school care, with R273,9 million allocated in the 2015/2016 budget has had no penetration in the disadvantaged schools. There is therefore no “After school” culture of learning.
2. The promised Infrastructure Development rollout has reached a bottleneck.
3. The provincial department has been weak in breaking the historical challenge of schools categorized according to race.
4. The programme for learners to be screened and treated for health ailments is slow and far in-between.
5. Then there are learners who go to school in fear for their lives because of poor security in their schools.
How can the department then expect improvements on Matric results when they are not willing to invest in such outcomes.
The ANC's Members of the Provincial Legislature will embark on a school programme beginning tomorrow, visiting predominantly the neglected schools, and visiting particularly the schools that have potential to rise if only they can get the assistance, first to highlight the many areas of improvements that the Provincial Government is ignoring and to galvanize community leaders in schools to demand more of the provincial government and not let their children drown in neglect.
The ANC is the only government that understands every nook and cranny of this province, what ails it, where resources need to be concentrated, and how to make sure the tide improves all boats and that not only a few a succeeding but all of us.
Issued by Richard Dyantyi, MPL and PEC member, 10 January 2017