Basic Education in Shambles Despite Department Claiming Otherwise

The class of 2023 received their results on the 19 of January 2024, as the Minister of Basic
Education, Angie Motshekga, shared the outcomes with the country. The pass rate stood at
82.9% for the grade 12 class of 2023.

The matric results for each province were as follows, from best to worst: Free State (89%),
KwaZulu-Natal (86.4%), Gauteng (85.4%), Northwest (81.6%), Western Cape (81.5%),
Eastern Cape (81.4%), Limpopo (79.5%), Mpumalanga (77%), and finally, the Northern
Cape (75.8%).

Minister Motshekga hailed the grade 12 learners saying that they produced good results for
the year 2023. On the contrary, according to statistics, the results of the class of 2023 only
represent 55% of the learners who started school in 2012. Simply put this means that almost
half of the learners that were supposed to be in grade 12 in 2023, have either failed a grade
or a few grades and have remained behind or they have quit school.

In an article published by the Karibu on 17 June 2023 titled “Reasons to build a reading
movement,” the author, Siyabonga Mviko, highlighted some key facts that could be
investigated to see what the actual problem with the basic education system is. The
indicates how studies have shown that:
1. Grade 4 learners in SA cannot read for meaning;
2. That 48% of teachers in the public education system are 50 years and older and 3. SA
has one of the highest teacher-to-learner ratios in the world, which means our classrooms in
the public sector are overcrowded.

In the same breath it was also found that the grade 8 and 10 classes did quite badly in the
same year. The Free State, although first according to their matric results, were the worst
with their grade 8 and 10 results dropping by 4% from last year’s. Almost 40% of the grade
10 students in the Free State failed the grade and are now repeating.

“I am a tutor and I help children and I mostly work with children in grades 8 to 12 mainly with
maths. I have noticed that there is a big problem when it comes to reading and spelling.
Some of the kids struggle with the spelling of the simplest of words and it’s concerning. I will
not blame it on the children or even the teachers because as someone who is a facilitator at
Equal Education, I know better,” said Sinenhlanhla Buthelezi.

“As an organisation, we have been fighting the government for years to fix the problems that
we have within the education system. The classes are overcrowded, and the teachers are
overworked and underpaid. The schools don’t even look decent, and they are not an
environment that promotes healthy learning. The government needs to spend more on
education so that the learners in [the] public education system can get the same education
as children that are in private schools,” said Buthelezi who is a facilitator at Equal Education.

There is a big need for our government to prioritise the education of the working class
children or else this problem will only become worse than it already is. The Minister needs to
be honest and face the fact that a lot of work needs to be done to improve the quality of
education given to our kids in public schools.

This article was submitted on 27 October 2023. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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