According to recent analysis conducted by the DA, 38 schools have underperformed (matric pass rate of below 40%) every single year.

Below is how they put it according to DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education

President Zuma’s new-found focus on underperforming schools is a surprising but welcome development.

We now urge him to attend to the root of the problem, and that is an underperforming Minister of Basic Education.

It is Minister Motshekga who must shoulder the blame for the serial neglect of underperforming schools during her tenure.

A close analysis of the matric results reveals that, in the last five years, 38 schools have underperformed (matric pass rate of below 40%) every single year. Examples include:

• Mshiyane High School in KwaZulu-Natal, which saw a decrease in its pass rate of 27.3%, from 36.8% in 2012 to 9.5% in 2016;
• Season’s Academy in KwaZulu-Natal had a pass rate of below 40% every year, declining to 13.5% this year;
• At Mahlaba Secondary School in Limpopo, only one matric learner passed in 2016, a pass rate of 3.8%. This school has had a pass rate of below 40% since 2009;
• Zanobuzwe Secondary in the Eastern Cape obtained a 10% pass rate in 2016. The highest pass rate achieved in the past five years was 36.8% in 2015; and
• Phungaza High School in KwaZulu-Natal could only manage a pass rate of 37.4% this year. The school has not achieved a pass rate above 40% since 2010.

[Click here for details of all 37 schools that obtained a pass rate of below 40% every year for the past five years]

The South African Schools Act expressly commits Minister Motshekga to identifying and addressing underperformance in schools. According to section 58B of the Act, the Minister of Basic Education – through her Head of Department – must:

• Identify underperforming public schools on an annual basis;
• Issue a written notice to an underperforming school to request a plan for correcting the situation;
• Take all reasonable steps to assist the school in addressing the underperformance; and
• Consider taking action against educators who demonstrate incapacity or poor work performance.

The fact is that these 38 schools have consistently underperformed during Minister Motshekga’s tenure. Whether she has failed to support them adequately or neglected them entirely still needs to be determined. Either way, Minister Motshekga is culpable for their underperformance.

I will be putting parliamentary questions to Minister Motshekga to determine:

• Whether she has identified these schools as underperforming schools on an annual basis;
• What steps have been taken to assist each school in addressing its underperformance; and
• Whether any action has been taken against the Principals of schools that consistently underperform.

It is clear that, whichever way you look at it, Minister Motshekga is failing in her statutory obligation to support underperforming schools and the children who attend them.

We urge President Zuma to put this underperforming Minister on terms. If she cannot turn around schools that serially underperform, she does not deserve to be the Minister of Basic Education.