COSATU congratulates the matric class of 2023 and wishes them well in their next journey

19 January 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) warmly congratulates the matric class of 2023 and wishes them well in their next journey in their lives.  The Federation is pleased by the positive improvements in the overall national results as well as across the provinces and in particular large rural provinces of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. 

We hope that these excellent results are a sign that we are turning the corner in increasing the numbers of learners who reach and pass grade 12 and earn passes enabling them to pursue tertiary education.  These improvements are a testimony to the perseverance of learners, the dedication of teachers and the support of parents and families.  They deserve our hearty congratulations.

Whilst being pleased with this good progress, we must continue to raise our deep concerns with the half a million leaners who enter grade 1 and do not complete or pass grade 12.  This is feeding a permanent class of unemployed persons.  This must keep all sober persons up at night and cannot be something to celebrate or sweep under the carpet.  The nation ignores it at its peril. 

If we are to turn this corner and ensure that all learners who enter grade 1, complete grade 12 and maximise their career opportunities, then we need to invest in public education.  This means reducing the rising teacher learner ratios, providing safe learning environments in all schools and in particular those in townships, enable learners to access schools without having to travel long distances, and to ensure all schools are well resourced and a quality learning environment is put in place.

The curriculum we provide leaners at schools, colleges and universities needs to be continuously enhanced to provide young people with the skills and experiences necessary to find work in not only the economy of today, but also that of tomorrow.

For learners disappointed with their results, they should not lose heart but consider rewriting exams for learners seeking to improve their results or asking for remarks where marks are close or repeating matric where this may help learners to improve their results. 

The end of this chapter of learning, marks the beginning of new opportunities for learners. Learners should be supported to pursue tertiary opportunities at not only universities but also colleges.  This requires government to drastically improve the functioning of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme so that working class students can apply for and receive funding with ease and not endless delays.  Treasury needs to increase the resources available for NSFAS to avoid the current funding gap faces students.

The key to a growing economy, slashing unemployment and tackling poverty; is to invest in the education of young people.  It is time we gave our learners, teachers and parents the support they require.  Cutting corners and turning a blind eye to half a million learners not meeting matriculating annually must no longer be tacitly accepted.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687