Township vs suburban schools: Who performed better in Gauteng matric results?

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and MEC Matome Chiloane award GCRA bursaries to the top-performing matriculants from no-fee paying schools in Gauteng. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and MEC Matome Chiloane award GCRA bursaries to the top-performing matriculants from no-fee paying schools in Gauteng. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 23, 2024


Despite attempts by education officials in Gauteng trying to convince parents that township schools were now performing on par with suburban schools, the data shows the historically advantaged schools were still performing better by at least 10%.

The Gauteng province achieved 56,552 Bachelor passes from its 127,697 candidates - with a total of 109,030 passing their matric exams.

Township schools attained 31,145 Bachelor passes, which accounts for 37.6% from those who passed in the province.

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane made a bold claim last week when schools reopened; arguing that township schools were performing on par with suburban schools, who historically have better resources and charge parents much higher school fees.

“We are changing the landscape of our township schools. We have been getting questions about why are we saying townships schools because people want to take their kids to the former Model C schools.

“And I will say to them, with evidence, the township schools produce quality,” he said last week.

Learners from township schools, such as Mamelodi’s Lebogang Selepe, who achieved 100% in both his maths and physical science exam, are flying the flag for less resourced township schools.

But there is still some way to go for the township schools to catch up.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has bemoaned the performance of township schools in Gauteng, who performed below the national pass rate of 82.9%.

The Gauteng Department of Education’s Technical Report for the Class of 2023’s National Senior Certificate shows that suburban schools in Gauteng passed at a rate of 92.5% - almost 10 percentage points above the national average, while township schools passed at 81.5% - 1.4 percentage point below the national pass rate.

The report shows 67,502 township learners passed matric in Gauteng, with 37.6% or 31,145 of them passing with Bachelors passes.

Independent schools who wrote the NSC exam, also passed at a rate of 92.9%.

“If you take the Joburg Central District, it is a district that services the entire Soweto. We can't be proud that Soweto is not performing well.

“If you take Gauteng East, it services KwaThema, Tsakane, Duduza and they are below 82%.

“If you take Joburg East District, you have Alexandra, Ivory Park. Those who know poverty will tell you it is the children of Alexandra and Ivory Park that must pass so they can get out of poverty.

“I must register my disappointment to those that have not performed above the national average of 82.9%. Pull up your socks,” said Lesufi.

The Joburg West District, with a pass rate of 92.5%, was the best performing district in the country, while Tshwane South also scored 90.4% pass rate. The district directors of both districts have been promised performance bonuses for meeting their KPIs.

Gauteng North District - 88.4%, Gauteng West 86.7% and Tshwane North - 86.4% - were the next best performing trio.

“The NSC pass rate in townships schools ranged from 76,3% to 91,4% across the districts in the 2023 NSC Examination, with Johannesburg West performing the best and Johannesburg East the worst.

“The quality of passes as per the Bachelor pass rate achieved ranged from 30,6% to 53,7% across the districts. In keeping with the 2023 NSC pass rate, Johannesburg West achieved the highest Bachelor pass rate, and Sedibeng East achieved the lowest,” the technical report noted.

Joburg West District’s township schools returned 53.7% Bachelor passes, which amounts to 2,077 Bachelor passes from the 3,865 who wrote.

The technical report also showed that learners at fee-paying schools were more likely to pass.

– 91.1% of the 52,215 learners at fee-paying schools passed.

– 81.4% or 61,463 of the 75,482 candidates at no-fee schools passed.

“This constituted a difference in performance of 9.7% between fee-paying and no-fee schools. While both categories improved on their 2023 performance, the gap has widened by almost 2% between these two types of schools compared to 2022,” the report noted.

And in terms of Bachelor passes, there was a general pattern that showed the more resourced the school, the more passes and Bachelors it got.

– 6,549 learners achieved Bachelors at independent and special needs schools.

– 21,215 learners achieved Bachelors at the most resourced Quintile 5 schools.

– 10,284 learners achieved Bachelors at Quintile 4 schools.

– 7,382 learners achieved Bachelors at Quintile 3 schools.

– 5,994 learners achieved Bachelors at Quintile 2 schools.

– 5,128 learners achieved Bachelors at Quintile 1 schools.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, R560 million worth of Gauteng City Region Academy bursaries were awarded to 4,000 top performing matric learners from no-fee, special needs and township schools in the province at a function held at the Vodaworld in Midrand.

“Those who have performed beyond 90%, I want to thank you for the bottom of our hearts.

“We must reward those who shine. This is our province,” said Lesufi.

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