The South African Students’ Congress which is the biggest political student formation in the African continent, organizing in all South African Universities and TVET colleges; has noted the early release of the matric results for learners from independent examination board. The IEB results were released in the early hours of the 3rd of January 2018. The general 2017 matric results for learners coming from government schools will be released on Friday the 5th of January 2018.
This early release of the IEB results comes amidst the visible tensions in the higher education sector and the uncertainty besieging current and prospective students and the sector, in general, following the pronouncement of free higher education by the state president in mid-December 2017 for implementation by 2018.
SASCO has consistently held a view that the co-existence of the Independent Examination Board with the UMALUSI exanimation board perpetuates unequal treatment of learners who are prospective students. The IEB candidates constitute less than 10 percent of the overall South African matric candidates.
Majority of the IEB candidates are candidates hailing from privileged family backgrounds, whereas on the contrary, about 90 percent the UMALUSI candidates emanate from poor and working-class families, the majority of them coming from no-fee schools.
Some of the notable advantages of the IEB candidates due to their class privilege include an improved curricula and pool of choices, an advantageous learner to teacher ratio, modernized facilities, experienced examiners, early release of results, first preference on limited higher education spaces, preference for consideration to select courses and other benefits.
IEB candidates are exposed to a pool of matric subjects which result in candidates from these schools making an informed decision of study and career path choices whilst their peers on the other side of the class pendulum are condemned to only making a decision on the basis of 12 subjects from which to choose 6 from.
The learner to teacher ratio in government schools compared to independent schools is alarmingly disproportionate which is why a 99 percent pass rate in IEB candidates is not by accident, with 87 percent of those eligible for enrolment to a bachelor’s degree.
Majority of the examiners of the IEB are well-trained educators who are also examiners, this, therefore, means that the access and content of the basic education are also operating along class divides. The average public school teacher does not possess enough skills as compared to that of a private school teacher. This fact was exposed by the annual teacher assessment. The comparative advantage of private school teachers compared with public school teachers is informed by resources available to teachers in private schools. Most private school teachers earn more than the teachers in public schools making private schools more attractive to teachers who possess post junior degree qualifications.
Facilities available to private schools enhance a faster learner development and early access to ICT facilities which make it easier for learners from private schools to timeously apply for admission to Universities and selection courses especially with the trend of universities only accepting online applications.
This is even accelerated by the early release of results from private schools.
The South African Students’ Congress has been a solitary advocate for the realization of the higher education’s desire for a creation of a single coordinated South African education system. We believe this objective can only materialize if and when we begin to decommodify education and create a coherent basic education system. This will include the dismantling of the advantageous private basic education system through the deployment of equal resources which empower equity and equality policies, redeployment of educators and facilities to less privileged schools and areas.
The two-tier basic education system and structural approach do not respond to our developmental goals as a nation. The system as it only serves to further entrench the class divide and commodification of education with those descending from upper classes getting a better service, better opportunities, better education and greater prospects of prosperity. This, in turn, results in an unequal society and widens the inequality gap in our country.
The release of the IEB results and their pass rate are nothing to celebrate but a spit on the faces of the poor and downtrodden masses of the South African population. In actual fact, they present a source of enragement and an inspiration to continue fighting for access, success, and redress in the education terrain.
We have noted views from the reactionary and illegitimate Universities South Africa structure which suggests that there will be no walk in applications taken/ considered; this is despite government’s pronouncement on free education. This is done as a desperate measure at gatekeeping and keeping admissions of poor black majority working class offspring at a minimum. Part of their tricks will be increasing admission scores and employing private securities to turn away our people from the gates of learning.
Understanding that most of our people come from poor backgrounds and that universities only conduct career expos, career guidance and other community outreach programmes in privileged schools; as a result of which our learners from most no fee schools do not find such exposure. Our learners are encouraged to approach institutions of their choice where they will find SASCO foot soldiers to assist them in applying. It is not new that most students cannot apply on time due to lack of resources, lack of ICT facilities and lack of career guidance. We have consistently called for the scrapping of application fees and other related costs and the introduction of compulsory community service by graduates and institutions to abate some of these challenges.
SASCO has always been against any form of academic and financial exclusions; the above-exposed facts are forms of academic, financial and social exclusions. SASCO calls upon all deserving students to be allowed to study a course of their choice, at an institution of their choice.
The NEC will be releasing guidelines to its structures for our annual right to learn campaign which is set to commence from Monday the 8th of January 2018. The guidelines will contain the command from the NEC as to the implementation of free education.
We have noted the inconsistencies from various government functionaries in communicating the announcement by President Zuma. We will be communicating our stance and approach together with the release of our guidelines on Friday the 05th of January 2018, at the University of Fort Hare East London Campus.
SASCO Volunteers will be in each and every institution, every campus and every access point to ensure all prospective and accepted students get the requisite assistance as has been a tradition for the past 26 Years.
Issued by the NEC
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