EDITORIAL | High numbers dropping maths don’t add up
Another area of concern is the education department’s progression policy doesn’t seem to be working
The matric class of 2020 has done us proud and they deserve to take a bow. During the hard lockdown last year, doomsayers were calling for the scrapping of the academic year. One prominent academic even suggested that all pupils should be progressed to the next grade.
But despite the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid-19, including the loss of teaching time and fears of contracting Covid-19 at school, teachers and matric pupils put their shoulders to the wheel and bravely soldiered on. They displayed resilience and true grit in the face of insurmountable odds and the fruit of their labour was a 76.2% national pass rate. Though it dropped by 5.1% from 81.3% in 2019, it is still a truly remarkable achievement under the circumstances.
As if attending classes during the pandemic were not stressful enough, the matrics had to contend with the leakage of the maths paper two and physical science paper two, and endure an agonising wait to see whether they would be forced to rewrite them. Fortunately, the Pretoria high court set aside the department of basic education’s decision for a national rewrite. A subsequent investigation by the National Investigations Task Team found that widespread leaks did not seem to have occurred...