SA’s real matric pass rate has been just above 50% for the past couple of years — a far cry from the 70%-plus touted by the basic education ministry every year. This is according to nongovernmental organisation Equal Education (EE), which on Thursday contrasted the matric pass rate with the consistently high number of pupils who fail to finish school. EE said a look at the throughput rate over the past three years “suggests that the pass rate has actually been declining and ranges between 41% and 37%”. EE said the annual matric pass rate announcement “is a misleading fanfare that, on its own, provides a poor indication of the overall health of the basic education system”. It noted that the provinces that reflected the largest improvements in their 2017 pass rates — Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal — were also the provinces with the biggest decrease in pupils who wrote the matric exams. “This points to a worrying practice that is commonly associated with high-stakes testing: o...

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