Motshekga is failing our children by refusing to probe culling – Ian Ollis

DA says dept yet to launch an investigation into the inflation of matric pass rates using this method

Motshekga is failing our children by refusing to probe culling

8 June 2017

Replies to DA parliamentary questions have revealed Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga’s, disinterest in making sure that children who struggle at school are assisted.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has admitted that currently “[no] full scale investigation has been initiated” to address the practice of culling – a practice whereby Principals purposely hold back poor performing learners in order to inflate the school’s pass rate.

By not investigating this disastrous practice and not holding these Principles to account, Minister Motshekga is essentially allowing these learners to be held back until they drop out in order to create an illusion of an improving education system.

The truth is that the quality of the education our children receive is not up to scratch and has not been for some time now. Now the Minister and the DBE is trying to pull the wool over our eyes by not helping struggling children in an attempt to inflate matric pass rates.

Letting learners drop out of school is purely a facade to cover up a failing education system. When a pupil leaves school early, their future socio-economic prospects are negatively affected and they have very little chance of improving their circumstances.

The DA on 6 January 2017, wrote to the Minister requesting an investigation into dropout and culling – to no avail. Then again in May this year, the DA wrote to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, to request that she summon the Minister to explain to the Committee what the DBE is doing about culling – and again nothing.

The DA first brought the issue of culling to light when it was revealed that the Free State’s high Matric pass rate in 2016 was the result of the low proportion of matriculants who write exams in that province – because weaker learners were encouraged to not write exams.

In fact, when the Minister introduced the new “Inclusive Basket of Criteria” for Matric, the Western Cape came out tops in the 2016 Results.

Since the Minister has now essentially washed her hands of this very concerning practice, the DA will now write to the Director General of the DBE and provincial MECs to see what they are doing about culling, since the Minister doesn’t seem concerned at all.

The DA will continue to explore every avenue to ensure that every one of our children gain access to a quality education. We will not allow the ANC’s failure as a government to continue to hinder the growth of our children.

Issued by Ian Ollis, DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, 8 June 2017