Johannesburg - The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has congratulated the matric class of 2021 for their performance amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The teacher’s union commented after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released the results on Thursday night and announced that the Class 2021 had achieved an overall pass rate of 76. 4 % - an overall marginal improvement of 0,2% as compared to the previous year.
Sadtu secretary-general Mugwena Maluleke said the outcome was nothing short of incredible for what the class of 2021 and teachers have achieved over the last traumatising two years.
“The achievement will obviously be drowned down by the recent time-wasting debate by political experiments and a deliberate misrepresentation of the 30% pass requirement.
“The class of 2021 was the largest to date of the National Senior Certificate. A total of 704 021 learners wrote their final examinations, with the lowest absenteeism rate recorded thus far of 3.98%.
“This means that the number of learners that eventually wrote the examinations, out of those who entered Grade12 either on a full or part-time basis, improved as compared to the previous years,” he said.
Maluleke said it was their well-considered view that the 2021 matric cohort was extraordinary and deserved to be commended because they faced unprecedented circumstances leading to their final examinations.
“We commend the Class of 21 for their resilience. They lost a significant amount of contact time with their educators in both Gr 11 and 12 due to Covid-related lockdown regulations.
“We also want to congratulate and commend educators, examination markers and invigilators, support personnel, parents, guardians, and the broader communities that had to endure the same levels of anxiety and stress as they afforded these learners with the necessary support,” he said.
Maluleke said the educators of the class of 2021 had to undertake extraordinary measures and sacrifices to support the said class, saying this class and their educators had to deal with the rotational timetabling over the last two years that had an adverse impact on their learning.
“Education workers had to be innovative to the extent of sacrificing family time in a Herculean effort to cover the curriculum. We also want to pay our respects to those education workers that lost their lives due to Covid-19 over the past two years. Their sacrifice is not negligible. They were at the forefront of ensuring that even the poorest receive an education under Covid-19 pandemic conditions.
“Let us also thank those that heeded our call as a union to vaccinate when the opportunity presented itself for the sector. We are also encouraging them to get the relevant booster shot so that the sector can return to normalcy as rapidly as possible.
“We should, as a country, appreciate parents who do not auction their responsibilities to what we see emerging so-called concerned parents with no children in any school shutting down our schools as part of a political campaign. Parents must refuse to be parented,” Maluleke said.
He said their members are being intimidated by this rogue group that wants to be a parent of parents, saying they were calling on the department and law enforcement agencies to help their school management teams when their schools are shut down by these “concerned parents”.
“Importantly, it remains our position that the matric results are being unnecessarily elevated into a central assessment tool for the efficiency of our education system. We believe that the media hype around matric results that influences the national discourse is misplaced and rather short-sighted.
“The release of the results often leads to an unnecessary “beauty contest” between the provinces, thus diverting our collective attention from the real challenges in the sector.
“It is worth mentioning that provinces have differing subjective conditions, and this has a direct impact on the outcomes thereof,” he said.
Maluleke said some largely rural provinces like KZN, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga must deal with entirely different conditions as compared to provinces like the Western Cape and Gauteng.