MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana releases 2016 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training level 4 results

5 Jan 2017

KwaZulu-Natal MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana releases the 2016 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training level 4 results

Honourable Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr T. W Mchunu, in absentia;
Honourable Acting Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr S. Zikalala;
Honourable Members of the Provincial Executive Council;
Indlunkulu kaZulu;
Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders; Inkosi Chiliza
Amakhosi and all Traditional Leadership present;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Honourable Members of Provincial Legislature;
Chairperson of the Education Portfolio Committee, Honourable, Mrs L. Hlongwa –Madlala;
Honourable Members of the Education Portfolio Committee;
Her Worship: The Mayor of EThekwini Metro;
All Mayors present;
Councillors and Local Government Leadership;
Esteemed Guests;
The Head of Department for Education, Dr E.V Nzama;
Heads of Department from Sister Departments;
The Deputy Directors-General for the Department of Education;
Officials of the Department and Sister Departments;
District Directors and District Officials;
Members of the Media Fraternity;
Leaders of Organized Labour;
School Governing Body Formations;
Representatives from Student Formations;
Parents who are present;
Principals of schools;
Teachers;
All learners present here today;
Ladies and gentlemen.

Allow us to greet you this morning.

In doing so we want to dedicate this special occasion to all officials, teachers and learners who lost their lives during the course of 2016. May their souls rest in peace!

As we present the 2016 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training Level 4 results we want to make it clear that as Kwa Zulu-Natal we acknowledge our strategic location and the corresponding responsibilities as an entity in a unitary state.

According to the last census figures KwaZulu-Natal is the second most populated province in the country and yet we are the leading province in terms of learner enrolments with approximately 2,8 million learners accommodated in the 6 023 public schools.

Needless to say that our province has the highest National Senior Certificate examination candidates. In 2016 the province accounted for close to 30 percent of the National Senior Certificate learner population and that had the statistical potential of either lifting or lowering the national average.

We acknowledge that we are amongst the provinces that are located along the costal line and our curriculum offerings are expected to make a direct contribution to lifting the ocean economy.

As one of the most rural provinces we are confronted with highest levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities. This places an extra burden in the allocation of resources to schools. 

It is in this context that in this province we see education not as one of the routine activities but as a conscious activity meant to free our people from the poverty trap, unemployment and inequality. In Kwa Zulu-Natal, education is the only gateway to breaking cycles of poverty and improving rural lives.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to you, Honourable Premier and your Executive Council for dedicating the 2016 Public Service Volunteer Week to education. The impact that was made by the provincial government during that week will be felt for many years to come.

In making curriculum more accessible to all learners, the Department of Basic Education has finalized the Skills and Vocational/Technical Occupational Curriculum. This year 26 Subject Statements will be piloted in the schools that will implement the programme in 2018. Learners in this programme will start specialising from Grade 6, with the certificate to be issued at the end of Grade 9. Beyond Grade 9 learners will be able to join the revised Technical Subjects with Specialisation offered in Grades 10 to 12

When this programme is fully implemented in about 5 to 10 years from now, the education system in our country will be fully inclusive to cater for all learners through a Three-Stream Model of Curriculum consisting of the Academic Schools, the Technical High Schools and the Vocational/Technical Occupational Schools.

We are very simple in our approach in that as we announce the results today, it’s like a day for a send-off for our best soldiers who must enter the post school environment as a training session to come back and develop their own communities.

We are assembled here today to celebrate achievements of the 2016 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training Level 4 candidates. We do this with fresh memories of the provinces ‘unsatisfactory’ performances in 2014 and 2015 which left all of us shocked, disappointed, embarrassed but still determined to overcome the situation and turn things around.

In reflection, clear patterns in the National Senior Certificate results can be observed since 2006. KwaZulu-Natal has experienced three serious declines with the first one between 2006 and 2008 totalling an 8 % decline. The second decline was between 2010 and 2011 at 3% in total. The third and most serious decline was 16, 7% which was experienced between 2013 and 2015.

Looking at the previous three years starting from 2013 this is how the province performed:

  • 77.4% in 2013;
  • 69.7% in 2014; and
  • 60.7 % in 2015.

The question that we ceaselessly ask is ‘why these declines’ when we had support programmes in place? A few indicators point to weak leadership; lack of accountability especially in schools and districts; non-completion of curriculum; lack of quality common assessments throughout the system; curriculum changes and lack of resources.   The most important one amongst these is the leadership that failed to take decisions and to act decisively.

Honourable Premier, the learners we celebrate today have finished their minimum twelve years of schooling and their hard work is rewarded with certificates that will open doors to their bright future. It is the culmination of a lengthy process of teaching and learning that was supported by tens of thousands of our teachers, parents and all other stakeholders throughout the corners of our province and beyond.

We wish to recognise all the efforts of our teachers, especially those that teach in the lower grades and never get the opportunity to attend this special occasion.

The year 2016 was a very challenging year to the Department as we had to do everything possible to arrest the decline in the National Senior Certificate results. The major intervention programmes that we rolled out included the following:

  1. We strengthened and re-focused the Provincial Academic Improvement Plan;
  2. Printed and distributed support and revision material some of which we developed as a province and some that we sourced from other provinces;
  3. Just-in-Time Training for teachers;
  4. Extra classes which included mornings, afternoons, weekends and school holidays;
  5. Boot camps for 1 200 high performing learners in Mathematics and Physical Science;
  6. Printing and distribution of Newspaper Supplements;
  7. Services of various radio stations to broadcast lessons in support of learners as they prepared for examinations;
  8. Improved management of school-based assessment (SBA); and
  9. Launch of 100 Days Countdown to the Final Examinations

Honourable Premier, we now take the opportunity to announce the 2016 results bearing in mind that some of the candidates who sat for the examinations are the only source of hope to their families.

In 2016 the province registered 169 023 candidates for the National Senior Certificate examinations including 27 033 progressed learners. For your information, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of progressed learners in 2016. The total number of full-time National Senior Certificate candidates who actually sat for examinations were 147 646. The other candidates were either Adult Education and Training candidates or progressed learners who opted to modularize.

In announcing the 2016 National Senior Certificate examination results we wish to begin by presenting the performance by each district. We do this fully acknowledging that our analysis and comparison may be a simplified one and not considering contextual factors. In their order of performance, starting from the lowest to the highest, the districts performed as follows:

  • 12. Ilembe: 52.42%
  • 11. Zululand:  57.97%
  • 10. Umzinyathi:  58.13%
  • 9. King Cetshwayo: 63.42%
  • 8. Harry Gwala:   63.79%
  • 7. Ugu: 65.39%
  • 6. Pinetown:   66.38%
  • 5. Uthukela:  67.7%
  • 4. Umkhanyakude:  69.17%
  • 3. Umlazi:   74.42%
  • 2. Umgungundlovu: 76.38%
  • 1. Amajuba:  77.4%

In 2015 Amajuba District obtained 58.75% and was ranked district number 8. In 2016 this District achieved the highest percentage increase of 18.47% and it is the most improved district. We congratulate the District Director, Rev Sithole, the entire district team, principals of schools, teachers, parents and learners.   

In addition, we wish to recognize Umzinyathi District for their 11.56% improvement and Umgungundlovu District for 8.40% improvement.

Overall, all twelve districts improved from the 2015 results and the least improved District is Ilembe by 0.49%.

The 2016 overall pass rate for KwaZulu-Natal is 66.4%. In actual numbers that translates to 98 028 passes out of 147 646 candidates who wrote the National Senior Certificate examinations. The province’s overall pass percentage excluding progressed learners is 69.5%.

From the 12 938 progressed learners who wrote the examinations, only 4 495 candidates passed which is only 34.6% pass rate.

A total number of 36 139 candidates, which is 24.4% of the 2016 cohort that wrote examinations, obtained bachelor passes and qualify to study towards university degrees.

We are pleased to announce that the province has improved in the pass percentages in Mathematics and Physical Sciences compared to 2015. In Mathematics we have obtained 37.91% compared to 33.23% in 2015 and in Physical Sciences 57.76% compared to 51.81% in 2015.

This time we have 85 schools that achieved 100% pass rate as opposed to 66 schools in 2015. That is great improvement.

It is, however, with deep sense of embarrassment, disappointment and disbelief that in 2016 the province had 9 schools that obtained 0% pass rate. The number of 0% pass rate schools only decreased by 5 from the 14 schools in 2015. The 215 schools that achieved 30% pass rate and below in 2016, compared to the 308 schools in 2015, remain a serious cause for concern and drastic measures need to be implemented immediately to move all of them to 50% and above.

We note with concern that there are schools that are under investigation for the scandal of group coping. The number of implicated schools has, however, decreased from 12 in 2015 to only 4 in 2016. We trust that investigations will be treated with a sense of urgency it deserves so that those innocent will move on with their lives. Those that will be found guilty must be punished accordingly.  

In spite of all these setbacks, we sincerely believe that the 2016 results show positive signs of stabilization of CAPS implementation and that our intervention strategies are beginning to bear fruit. 

It is also encouraging that the overall pass percentage gap between male and female candidates is slowly narrowing. In five districts the female candidates achieved higher overall pass percentages compared to their male counterparts. We have noted with concern though, that the gap in the more rural districts is not narrowing quickly enough.     

We take this opportunity to congratulate the class of 2016 for such good performance.

More details will be given by DDGs when they present provincial high achievers and award winners. 

What is common among the high performing schools is that they all cite ‘dedication and hard work’ as the main drivers behind their success. To that effect the late President Mandela said; “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do”.

We congratulate and encourage all the candidates that have passed to pursue further studies towards their bright future. The government of the ruling party makes bursaries and study loans available to needy students.

On the other hand we wish to state that we are very worried about the number of students who failed in 2016 which is alarmingly too high. They must, however, also find comfort in the words of the late President Mandela when he said: “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” So we call on all of them to soldier on and try again.

Opportunities should be made available for them to re-write subjects they failed or to explore other avenues towards their future careers.   We are saying this fully aware of the Second Chance Matric Support Programme designed to assist such learners. As the Department we need to ensure that learners benefit maximally from this programme. 

We are pleased to announce here today that as a collective we have managed to turn the corner but we want to hasten though and say we can still do much better. We view 2016 achievements only as a turning point for KwaZulu-Natal and a beginning of the province’s upward journey to its rightful place among the best performing provinces. Hence, we need to keep our celebrations very short.

In recognizing outstanding performance by some of the 2016 National Senior Certificate and Adult Education and Training Level 4 candidates, we have awards that we will present to them today as a sign of appreciation.

During the course of 2016 we made a firm commitment to few disadvantaged schools that we visited. We promised a few bursaries that we intended to award to top achievers from those schools. Today we will fulfil those promises. We humbly request more business people in future to join hands with us to ensure that more bursaries get awarded to our very needy candidates who intend to further their studies in institutions of higher learning.    

For all the awards and bursaries we are going to present today, we sincerely thank all our sponsors and funders. Without them, this function would not be what it is.

In particular, we want to recognise business people and organizations that continue to make valuable contributions to education.

We also want to acknowledge the contributions of Teacher Organizations, School Governing Body Formations, and Business towards the improvement that we observe and celebrate today. We, however, need to keep reminding ourselves that we can still do more as people given responsibility ‘to carry the hopes and aspirations of all people of KwaZulu-Natal’.

As much as there is some improvement in Mathematical Literacy in KwaZulu-Natal but it is still not as good as we would wish. As a province we need to deal with this challenge urgently.

Another worrying issue is the overall performance of progressed learners which is really not pleasing to say the least. We therefore, Head of Department, suggest that as a province we deal with this matter decisively as a matter of urgency. We cannot allow the province to be drawn back by the same factor every year.   

In addition, we want to make it clear that in the best interest of the province and the entire nation, we need to take sober decisions and decisive steps regarding the districts that have consistently not achieved the required results in spite of numerous interventions and resources provided. Let it be heard and understood by everyone that the current administration will go down in history as an administration which was decisive. Where there is evidence of failure to manage there will be immediate consequences.

Honourable Premier, for the current academic year we will set high standards for ourselves as we want to be counted among the best. Here are some of the things we will do:

  1. Strengthen the Provincial Academic Improvement Plan and set new targets for 2017.
  2. Improve overall school functionality.
  3. Make ‘time on task and task on time’ a non-negotiable.
  4. Put systems in place to improve learner attainment in lower grades, with specific focus on exit grades and particularly 9 which do not receive sufficient attention at school level.
  5. Learner-centred interventions.
  6. Boot camps for under-performing schools.
  7. Strict monitoring of curriculum management and curriculum coverage. All Circuit Managers must prioritise this.
  8. Teacher development programmes focusing on content and methodology. Gate-way subjects being the priority.
  9. Strict monitoring of the quality of school-based assessment (SBA).

We feel very confident as we start the new year after a very successful Strategic Planning Session that we had as the Department on 25th – 27th November 2016.

As a result we are focused and ready for 2017. We will endeavour to implement and monitor progress on all the Resolutions we adopted during the Strategic Planning.

Honourable Premier, we welcome and appreciate the declaration by His Excellency,  President J. G Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, in his message for the New Year that “Access to education is a priority for 2017”. We are pleased to announce that the Department has provided the necessary basic resources for 2017 to schools.

We, however, wish to express our serious concern regarding the ever-increasing school fees in certain schools. In some cases school fees increase by as much as 10% annually thereby turning access to education into a privilege than a right. The sad story to tell is that it is the children of the poor and the previously disadvantaged who suffer the most. By design this practice, in the main, will continue to marginalize the poor African child. Quality education cannot continue to be a preserve for a few even after 1994. We need to find a lasting solution to this matter before it’s too late.

We are looking forward to another successful year in which all our social partners such as Organized Labour, School Governing Body Formations and the private sector will continue to support us towards quality education for all.

In conclusion, we want to state that our dedication and focus are beginning to create an environment conducive to excellence and setting new benchmarks not only for the province but for the entire country. We will need all hands on deck to bring forth the necessary changes and breathe into the province fresh hope and expectancy. Hence we call upon all trusted leaders whose credibility is beyond reproach or question to contribute towards establishing a lasting legacy. We have what it takes to take KZN to greater heights. There is political leadership and will to support our resolve.

Let us make 2017 the best year yet not only for the rural children and families in the province but also for those in better resourced environments.

The next 100 days will be most defining and tone setting for us. We will, through these next 3 months, demonstrate to those we lead that we believe in the province’s capability to be the leader in education nationally, regionally and continentally.

By design and appropriate leadership we will demonstrate our resolve to be better each day and consciously transition the department from being merely good to becoming great. It is in our own hands.

We count on all stakeholders to make this a reality. You can count on us.

Finally, we thank you, Honourable Premier; the ruling party - the ANC, Education Portfolio Committee, Organized Labour, School Governing Body Formations, Departmental Officials, Sister Departments,  Business people, all role-players and the people of KwaZulu-Natal for your never ending support and for the opportunity given to us to serve this beautiful province.

Thank you!!!

Province: 
More on: