Bouquets, brickbats for Education Department

Mbali Frazer, KZN MEC for Education, during the awards ceremony for the Matric Class of 2023 at the International Convention Centre. | Supplied

Mbali Frazer, KZN MEC for Education, during the awards ceremony for the Matric Class of 2023 at the International Convention Centre. | Supplied

Published Jan 22, 2024


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has once again been thrust under the spotlight following the performance of the matric Class of 2023.

Political parties in the province say that while the attainment of a 86.4% pass rate was commendable, the functioning of the department leaves much to be desired.

Provincial chairperson for Action SA, Zwakele Mncwango commended the achievement.

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) matric class of 2023 for their exceptional performance, achieving an impressive 86.36% pass mark – which reflects a 3.36% increase compared to the year 2022 – producing the highest number of distinctions in the country, and securing the second-top spot nationally.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the unwavering dedication of both the educators and learners, who, despite facing challenges such as poor infrastructure, shortage of teachers, inadequate learning material and the collapse of the school nutrition programme, have demonstrated resilience and commitment to academic excellence,” he said.

EFF provincial chairperson Mongezi Twala said that while the class of 2023 performed well, it was a rocky academic year due to an “incompetent ANC KZN government on the poor handling of the school nutrition programme”.

Twala said load shedding also remained a hindrance to a smooth and conducive environment for all South African citizens.

“If load shedding is not resolved, we are not going to see positive results because it affects schooling both at home and at school, including poor network and internet connections, and it also affects those relying on electricity to enhance knowledge on specific subjects.

“And as long as there are kids travelling long distances on bare feet, who are forced to cross full rivers, we remain a defeated nation,” said Twala.

Dr Imran Keeka, DA provincial spokesperson on Education, congratulated the class of 2023, along with their teachers and parents.

Keeka said that while the party noted the results presented by Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, they did not believe that it was a true reflection of KZN's matric results as “it is a figure which should be based on the 2023 matric cohort, including the drop-out rate since Grade 10,“ and which they would reveal in the coming days.

“While having a matric qualification remains significant, the devastating reality is that there is a severe lack of job opportunities in KZN – a direct result of the province’s Taliban faction ANC government.

“This is a brutal blow as the cost of living continues to rise.”

“The matric results for the class of 2023 are not a true reflection of the state of education in KZN. The reality is that our country and our province’s education system has been systematically destroyed by an ANC that does not care,” said Keeka.

He noted that the additional challenges faced by the department included crumbling infrastructure, poor parental investment and finances that were poorly directed.

Keeka said the class of 2024 faced the prospects of shortages of stationery, furniture, insufficient learner transport and unsafe environments and that these were only the “tip of the iceberg”.

The NFP’s Mbali Shinga said they were proud of the outcome.

“We congratulate the Class of 2023. We are really so proud. We congratulate MEC, HOD and, most importantly, the educators and the learners,” she said.

Shinga said what was most noticeable with the results was the commendable performance of schools in the rural areas who are poorly resourced.

She encouraged the KZN government and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to prioritise the issue of damage to infrastructure.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele congratulated MEC Frazer and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga for the results.

“KZN has been singled out for producing the highest number of distinctions in South Africa and in the process edging out the Western Cape under the Democratic Alliance.

“We celebrate the fact that under the ANC, the department is fulfilling the vision of the founding leaders of the ANC and intellectuals such as Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme and Dr John Langalibalele Dube,” said Mndebele.

He further acknowledged the improvement in results from the class of 2022 to that of 2023 and saluted the class of 2023 on their performance.

Sunday Tribune