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The Ministry of Basic Education has set its sights on underperforming provinces

and will provide them with additional support, as it aims to improve the overall National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate.

The Class of 2016 achieved a national pass rate of 76.2 percent without the inclusion of progressed learners.

When progressed learners are included, the pass rate is 72.5 percent, an increase from the 70 percent of the previous year.

PSM recently spoke to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to find out how national and provincial departments planned to ensure that the Class of 2017 also records an improved pass rate.

 For their part, Minister Motshekga and Deputy Minister Enver Surty have already started visiting targeted provinces to help them improve outcomes.

KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape will receive more attention from the national department,

as they recorded the lowest pass rates of the 2016 NSC examination results. They all achieved pass rates of less than 70 percent.

A turnaround is on the cards The Minister is confident that the three provinces can turn things around in 2017 going forward.

“I am very comfortable with the three provinces in 2017. Limpopo has for the first time since 2011 appointed a Head of Department (HOD). The HOD was appointed in 2016.

The Eastern Cape has never had an HOD since my term in office as the Education Minister, but they also appointed one last year.

KZN also has an HOD,” says the Minister. She is also pleased with the calibre of people appointed to those positions. “I have a good feeling that we are going somewhere with those provinces.

We will be working with them province by province because they have different dynamics,” the Minister added.

Deputy Minister Surty is responsible for Limpopo, while Minister Motshekga is responsible for the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Ministry also sent teams to deal with matters affecting these provinces, including infrastructure, and legal and budget issues, among others.

The Minister said that the national department is sharing ideas with provinces through reports to discover how best they can together improve the sector’s performance and address remaining issues.

More must be done to address low participation rates and poor learner outcomes in mathematics, physical science, accounting

and languages; and the sector must redouble efforts to ensure that learners have ageappropriate reading and numeracy skills, she added.

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