South Africa’s Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s initiative to reduce the dropout rate must not be done at the expense of quality education that will collapse the public education system, the Education for Social Justice foundation (ESJF) said on Tuesday.

“The effort by Minister Angie Motshekga to reduce the high dropout rate within the schooling system is highly appreciated but it must not be done at the expense of quality education. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the move will decrease academic standards and eventually collapse the public education system. The foundation will participate in the public discussions and oppose the lowering of pass marks for schools,” said ESJF deputy chairperson, Hendrick Makaneta.

“It does not make any sense that basic education has embarked in a process to reduce pass marks whilst universities continue to maintain their academic standards. The DBE’s move will lead to a situation where learners enrolling in universities will find it extremely difficult to cope as they will be used to being spoon fed at school level.”

Makaneta added that “we should not forget that South Africa is still at the bottom of the list of countries of the world when it comes to the performance in maths and science as reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the trends in international mathematics and science studies (TIMMS)”.

In February, Motshekga announced that she was considering bringing down home language pass requirements in public schools from 50% to 40%.