Matric 2016: Two-tier system should be eliminated - COSATU

Federation says majority struggling with lack of libraries, books, laboratories or computers in schools

COSATU congratulates the Class of 2016

The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates all the students , who have passed their 2016 Matric examinations and urges all those ,who did not succeed to pick themselves up and try again to achieve their full potential in 2017.A temporary fall should not be viewed as a permanent fail and students should not allow themselves to be defined by this slippery pause in the journey of life.

The federation is satisfied that the national pass rate has seen a modest improvement and a change from the 2015 results, where the results dropped by five per cent to 70.7%, from 75.8% in 2014. The 2016 national pass rate is sitting at 72,5% including progressive learners.

The credit for this modest improvement must go to the teachers, who did everything possible to help the students, to the students who kept focussed on studying, to the parents who encouraged and supported them.

COSATU strongly believes that our education system is critical in the transfer and development of skills and technology and also in the broader social development through promoting a critical, informed and active citizenship.

These results must encourage the teachers unions, parents and civil society to work together with government to improve not just the quantity but also the quality of the results for this year.

When dealing and assessing the matric results, we need to also reflect on the number of those, who have achieved matric exemptions and the number of those who passed in maths and science.

We should also work to eliminate the two-tier education system, that allows the rich minority and mostly white to afford to buy their kids the best education ; while the majority struggles with lack of libraries, books, laboratories or computers in schools. Government should work to improve the infrastructure in schools – particularly rural schools, where there are no toilets or running water and kids still learn under trees and mud houses.

Teachers should be permanently employed and be paid decent salaries, while at the same time stakeholders should work together to improve the governance of the school system.

There should be a concerted effort by all to do away with the type of vandalism that resulted in the torching of schools and libraries like we saw in areas like Vhuwani in Vhembe in Limpopo. The destruction of schools is not only a criminal act but also a gross betrayal of young people, who are hungry for education. The communities all across the country should act to reclaim their communities and declare war on those ,who destroy schools and other infrastructure during protests.

Statement issued by COSATU, 5 January 2016