The Department of Basic Education is considering lowering the requirements for grade 10 and grade 11 learners to pass their school year. The Rapport stated that there is a plan to lower the pass marks for various subjects, including home languages.
The current requirement for learners to pass mathematics to pass the year will also be scrapped.
Hubert Mweli, Director-General for Basic Education, made the following suggestions on the topic:
- The pass mark for a home language should drop from 50% to 40%.
- The pass mark for mathematics will drop from 40% to 30%.
- Learners will only have to get 30% in two other subjects, other than mathematics.
- The pass mark for all other subjects will be 40%.
- The requirement to pass mathematics to pass the year will be removed.
The rule that a learner may not fail a certain phase which consists of three grades, more than once has also been applied since 2014.
The lower standards may face criticism from education experts and schools, with former University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen criticising the lowering of standards in SA.
He said the country already has a watered-down mathematics stream for those who were told they “could not do maths”.
He added that matric exams are rigged to make the weakest pupils pass, not to make the brightest pupils excel.
“The exams are designed to compensate for the dysfunction in most of our schools, because the politicians are too scared to confront those who hold hostage the potential of all our pupils.”
In November 2013, former Naspers CEO Koos Bekker warned that South Africa’s poor education system was hurting Internet developments and investments in the country – due to a lack of engineers.
“To get an engineer, you need a kid who is enthused about mathematics and is prepared to study engineering at university,” said Bekker.
“Regrettably, our education system is so poor it simply does not yield the mathematics geniuses we need to go to university to become engineers.”