MEC Gade\'s 2021/2022 Policy and Budget Speech

Posted on Wednesday, 24 March 2021

By Communications

Category: Latest News

This policy and budget presentation takes place two months after the passing of our late and the longest serving Head of Department of Basic Education in the province, Mr Themba Kojana, a giant amongst administrators, beloved father, mathematics teacher, activist, and a great leader who made massive contributions towards transforming basic education and improving the performance across all levels from districts to schools.

We also acknowledge those teachers, officials and all those who have worked with us and are part of the basic education family who have succumbed to the virus. We send our deepest condolences to the bereaved families. To all of them we say to you be comforted that your loved ones have run their race. Ours is to pick up the spear and soldier on. The dearly departed will continue to live amongst us in our hearts.

We have put in place all-inclusive and wide-ranging measures to combat and manage the spread of the epidemic in the sector with the safety of our learners and officials being a fundamental guiding principle. The full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education outcomes is still to be fully ascertained. While the closure of schools is likely to have had some impact on learning outcomes, research indicates that it will not impact substantially on the upward trends observed with respect to learning outcomes. We will continue to intensify our efforts in ensuring the continued provision of quality teaching and learning in our schools in a safe environment.

Reflections on the work of the Department in 2020/21.

Madam Speaker, the NSC pass rate in the Eastern Cape improved for each of the four years prior to 2020. We went from:

57% in 2015 up to

● 59% in 2016, this increased to

● 65% in 2017. A further increase to

● 71% in was achieved in 2018,

● and a milestone of 76.5% was achieved in 2019.   

However, the 2020 academic year was disrupted by the closure of schools to limit the spread of Covid-19. This caused the provincial NSC pass rate to drop to 68.1% in 2020.

All 12 Districts experienced a corresponding decline in the NSC pass rate. The highest decline was in the Joe Gqabi district, where NSC passes dropped by 14.9%. Similarly, NSC outcomes in the OR Tambo Coastal district dropped by 12.5%.

Nevertheless, there were pockets of excellence that deserve our acknowledgement. Two candidates from the Eastern Cape received National Top Achievers Awards from the Minister of Basic Education. They are:

Buys Reynhardt from Pearson High School in Nelson Mandela Bay District. He received two awards:

o Overall position 1 in the Quintile 5 category, and
o 3rd position in Mathematics 

Bongo Simamkele from Xolilizwe Senior Secondary School in Amathole East District achieved Overall Position 3 in the Quintile 3 Category.

In terms of achievement within the province, the following learners were recognised as the Top 3 performers in the Premier's Awards for 2020 NSC Achievers:

● In First position: Buys Reynhardt: Pearson High School in Nelson Mandela Bay District, the same candidate received the National Award,
● In Second position: Julia Nhawu Tawongaishe from Clarendon Girls High School in Buffalo City Metro District; and
● In Third position: Steyn Marle from Collegiate Girls High School in Nelson Mandela Bay District. 

Once again, I wish to congratulate the Class of 2020, they have been through the most unprecedented time in the history of schooling as we know it and wish them the very best in their future. I believe that these most gallant and committed young people will continue to 7 Eastern Cape Department of Education Budget and Policy Speech 2021/22 7 shine wherever they are. We celebrate the courage, determination, perseverance, resilience, and agility of the Class of 2020. A round of applause to them and to all learners who were steadfast and persevered against insurmountable odds for the successful completion of the 2020 school academic year.

Overall Learner Performance Madam Speaker, amidst the pandemic and its challenges, over 130-thousand candidates managed to write the Senior Certificate, and National Senior Certificate examinations in 2020. ‘No child was left behind’. All candidates who qualified to write the examinations had the opportunity to sit for the exams. Specially prepared school environments were established for those who had tested positive for Covid-19. This achievement was a game-changer. It sent a message that Covid-19 is not a death sentence, nor is it a crusher of someone’s dreams. The Department ensured that thousands of anxious candidates did not have their dreams deferred, but were afforded an opportunity to start their journey into the future, here and now.

There was a 2.3% decline in 2020 Bachelor passes when compared to 2019 whereas the 2019 cohort had achieved 32.3% Bachelor passes, the 2020 group achieved at 30%. However, the number of learners who earned a Bachelor pass in 2020 was actually higher at 21 886, compared to 20 419 in 2019.

I am proud of the outstanding effort of each of the 12 Districts. Officials in all of the Districts worked tirelessly to ensure success in the NSC 2020 examination. Three districts achieved outcomes at 70% or above, while the other districts all performed above 60%.

It is worth noting Madam Speaker, that six subjects have shown a laudable improvement in the number of Distinctions obtained by our learners in 2020 when compared to 2019.

Almost 50 teaching and learning days were lost due to school closures, and in order to recover some of the lost school days, the final NSC examination timetable had to be adjusted in November and December 2020.

Due to the pandemic, the May/June NSC 2020 exams were also merged with the November/ December exams. This had significant logistical implications, with ripple effects on financial and human resources. However, the ECDOE managed to conduct all examinations, whilst fully adhering to Covid-19 regulations.

Madam Speaker, while the Grade 12 pass rate has been widely discussed and praised, we are also pleased to announce that the overall pass rate from Grade R-11 has been consistently above 80% over the past few years. In 2019, it was 85.5%, with a slight decline to 82% in 2020. With all the challenges faced by the sector in 2020, this achievement is truly commendable.

The Grade R pass rate has remained constant at 95% in 2019 and in 2020. It is also worth noting that Grade 10 passes improved from 62% in 2019 to 74% in 2020, while Grade 11 improved from 69% in 2019 to 77% in 2020. 

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Sibulele Ngemntu commented on 07 Apr, 2021 09:31

Good day, I would like to know if there are any Food and Nutrition posts available at the moment?

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