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An open letter to Angie Motshekga

Dear Madam

I know that you are a busy person and this period in particular is the most hectic with centenary celebrations in full swing. I would like to congratulate you and your department, together with nine MECs and the respective departments in various provinces.

Let me rather skip the pleasantries and get to the crux of this letter, I am a worried citizen of this country. I note with jubilation, laced with scepticism, at the unfolding events surrounding our matrics. The fact that they achieved a 70.2% pass rate is one to be celebrated — but at what cost? I also find it rather disingenuous that one only needs 30% to pass a subject — meaning that out of 10 chapters all they need to know is three of them. My burning question is, who must know the other remaining seven chapters?

Would it make sense, madam minister, if we held elections today and a winner was declared for achieving only 30% of the votes? Would it make sense if we held a vote tomorrow and a winner is declared for achieving 50.1%?

Now that we are mass producing our matriculants, my other burning question is where these mass products are going to be absorbed? Who will hire someone who only knows 30% of the things they are supposed to? Imagine being in hospital and the doctor tells you he cannot diagnose a disease or cannot use a stethoscope and when you ask why, he tells you that he only learned the easy part of the curriculum so as to achieve 30% pass mark?

Have you ever considered that these mass produced matriculants have a higher likelihood to drop out of university just because the tertiary system is centred around 50%? With this looming, what is going to happen to these drop-outs once they find tertiary life to be difficult?

I must also point out that tertiary life is difficult, even for the ones that achieve 60%, so what about the ones who achieve 30%?

My last question is, if a high jumper fails to clear the bar what do you do as a coach? Do you (A) lower the bar; (B) train the jumper harder; or (C) none of the above?

With all due respect, congratulations again to you, your deputy, MECs and everyone in the education department for this unprecedented feat.

Teboho Motshitele is a young father of two. He has a passion for education and economic freedom.

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