Middleburg — Mpumalanga Education MEC Reginah Mhaule on Thursday set the bar higher for educational institutions in the province, saying that from now on, they expected schools to obtain no less than a 50% matric pass rate.
Presenting the province's overall matric pass rate of 70% at a press conference in Middelburg, she warned principals to tighten operations at schools in order to achieve this target.
"I want to take this opportunity and publicly declare that in 2013, there must be no school in the province that will receive results below the 50% mark," said Mhaule.
"We are serious about this and should this happen, heads will roll just as the same will be applicable to those who obtained results below 30% for the second time."
She said a school was only as good as its principal.
"As such, principals will always be held to account for the results of their respective schools," she said.
Mhaule said her department was mindful of the 14 358 pupils who failed the year.
"I request parents and communities to support them as well and encourage them to learn from their mistakes and be given a second chance."
A team of officials was on standby to offer counselling to pupils who need it. The toll free helpline 0800 203 116 will operate during office hours.
Pupils who failed for the first time must be readmitted to schools, while those who qualify to write supplementary exams must submit their applications by January 21, Mhaule said.
The supplementary exams will start on February 11.
Mhaule urged schools to develop programmes to support those who will write supplementary exams.
Meanwhile, the province will issue bursaries to qualifying matrics who have applied on time and received admission letters from their universities of choice.
The bursaries will be confirmed as of January 9, once the department has received the applicants' official statement of results.
The MEC will meet provincial bursary holders between January 9 and 11 to ensure their applications go smoothly.