The President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), Mr Nkosiphendule Ntantala, commended the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on its management of the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination involving 796 542 candidates. ‘The pass rate from 75,1% in 2017 to 78,2% in 2018, demonstrates the increasing understanding of not only the implementation of the CAPS curriculum, but also of the stability of the NSC exams,’ said Ntantala.

NAPTOSA further commends the DBE on increasing the subject offering to 67 subjects in the 2018 NSC exams. This means that a wider, and more inclusive range of capabilities of our learners is acknowledged and catered for. ‘We have to challenge the idea that an academic pathway is the only valued pathway in education in our country,’ says Ntantala, ‘And given that only 33.6% (Bachelor Passes) of our learners qualify to study further in higher education, the exaggerated emphasis on the academic stream is misguided and misplaced.’ NAPTOSA believes that it is time that perceptions change regarding the status of the academic pathway, particularly equating mathematics and science subjects as indicators of intelligence. ‘South Africa needs to produce its own quality artisans, and we need to encourage parents and learners to see the value in opting for Technical and Vocational Pathways,’ said Ntantala.

Each year however, NAPTOSA raises its concern over the ‘lost learners’. These are from the 1 141 731* learners who registered in Grade 1 in 2007, and somehow, between then and now, the education system has lost 23% of them, as only 77% ( DBE /DHET NSC & NCV) wrote in 2018. ‘What have we done to ensure that we do not lose these potential contributors to the South African economy to lives of crime and eternal unemployment?’ asks Ntantala. ‘Perhaps it is time that the DBE stops paying lip service to the needs of our learners in this country and makes a real, concerted effort to ensure safe, functional schools that seek to truly educate all learners in our country to the strengths of each individual learner.’

NAPTOSA notes that once again Umalusi was required to make upward adjustments particularly in subjects with large enrolments. NAPTOSA remains concerned with the support that our new technical subjects are receiving. Performance in these subjects can only improve with sustained support for educators and schools.

‘Despite the very real issues facing education in South Africa, NAPTOSA wishes to congratulate the Examination Directorates in the National and Provincial departments (as well as the Umalusi officials) who need to be commended for their management of the National Senior Certificate examination’, said Ntantala.

NAPTOSA also wishes to commend the dedicated teachers who have worked tirelessly from Grade R to Grade 12. ‘It is each one of these teachers who we celebrate for their enormous contribution to the achievements that we are witnessing today,’ said Ntantala.

Congratulations to all of the successful candidates of the Class of 2018! You have done your parents, teachers and your schools proud. Well done!