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47% matric pass rate will improve, say officials

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Addressing a packed Mzimvubu Municipality Hall in Mount Frere on the last day of a two-day education summit, Mount Frere district education director Malusi Sobikela said he was positive that the district would overcome its challenges and improve on its below-par 47.2% matric pass rate from 2011.

"Despite the many challenges facing us, I still believe that getting the Mount Frere district working and our house in order can be achieved,' said Sobikela.

He said some of the major issues that needed to be addressed included the district?s record of having 168 mud schools (the highest number in the country), a 45 000 backlog of desks and chairs, insufficient teachers (there are 225 vacant teaching posts across the district?s 256 schools) and a lack of teaching material.

"... Results don?t only depend on the basics of teaching and learning, but also on the proper use of our limited resources to ensure that we turn our situation around,' he said.

Amabhaca King Thandisizwe Diko said he appreciated that the department was prioritising the development and proper functioning of education in the district.

"To properly address the challenges, all stakeholders must commit themselves to working together to come up with lasting solutions,' said Diko.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga welcomed the efforts by her department and the district in working together to try to bring stability to education.

"I am also excited by the support promised to the department by traditional leaders. Through this partnership, we will be able to address problems in the education system much faster,' said Motshekga.

She also applauded Mount Frere residents for their patience, adding that people in other provinces "would have given up on the department a long time ago'.

Motshekga chastised local business for stalling development in the area by charging exorbitant prices when conducting business with government.

"While we need the services of local businesses, we must also ask them to be reasonable when conducting business with us,' she said.

Motshekga announced that Cabinet has approved a cash injection for the construction of school buildings and the purchase of infrastructure. - BuaNews

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