S. African inmates outperformed in national high school exam pass rate

2021-02-26 16:55:47 GMT2021-02-27 00:55:47(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- While the 2020 academic year presented numerous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South African inmates who sat down for their final high school exams obtained an 86.3 percent pass rate, the highest they had achieved in the past five years.

The pass rate for other matriculants outside prison was 76.3 percent this year.

Justice and Corrections Minister Ronald Lamola said a total of 160 inmates wrote the matric examinations.

"Our learners also obtained a total of 76 distinctions and we also produced 78 bachelor's passes, which is a minimum requirement for admission to university for a bachelor's degree," the official said.

Department of Correctional Services (DCS) spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo told Xinhua on Friday that dedication and hard work from both students and teachers contributed to the pass rate.

There were 16 full-time correctional center schools and two public-private partnership centers, delivering formal educational programs that will provide diverse educational needs of persons.

From 2013, it is compulsory for every inmate without a qualification equivalent to Grade 9 to complete Adult Education and Training (AET) from level 1 to 4.

The Further Education and Training (FET) is offered in cooperation and in line with national and provincial departments of education. Free education, up to and including grade 12 is provided to all sentenced juveniles and also to adult learners where resources permit.

The DCS also provides Higher Education and Training (HET) to inmates. Data showed that a wide number of further education opportunities are available across the country's prisons, with prisoners studying everything from web design to dentist technology.

The DCS, however, said class attendance was disrupted due to the COVID-19.

"One of the approaches we implemented and intensified was access to online tutoring and learning by inmates," said Lamola.

"What also assisted us were the educational programs that the department of basic education broadcast on television and radio stations which inmates had access to," Lamola said.

Nxumalo said, Lwazi Chamane, 24, from Durban Westville correctional center was the top achiever with four distinctions and three B's in his matric results.

"He wants to pursue life science degree. He came to the facility in 2019 for armed robbery," he said, adding that Chamane was in grade 10 at the time of his conviction and was handed a five-year sentence. Enditem