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WCED illegally withholding public information

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is illegally withholding public information from the public, this despite MEC Grant's pledge of "transparency". Equal Education (EE) has therefore send a lawyer's letter to the WCED requesting this information under the Provision of Access to Information Act (PAIA). This follows various fruitless efforts to secure this information over the past 18 months.

During the past decade the WCED has commissioned very good testing of literacy and numeracy at Grade 6 level. EE is aware of four sets of results, roughly from 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Percentage of Western Cape grade 6 learners literate at the standard level of grade 6







CED (former ‘white’ schools)



Disaggregated results withheld from the public

HOR (former ‘coloured’ schools)



DET (former ‘black’ schools)



Aggregate Result for all schools





Source: WCED


The above table shows that in 2003 only 35% of all grade 6 learners in the Western Cape were literate to the level expect of a grade 6 learner. These literacy results show a reasonably steady improvement of the overall picture from 35% in 2003 to 48,6% in 2009.

However, as the table shows, there is enormous inequality in outcomes. In 2005, 86,9% of all grade 6 children in former Cape Education Department (CED) schools could perform at grade 6 level. However, only 4,7% of grade 6 learners in former Department of Education and Training (DET) schools were at this level. The former are the relatively 'multi-racial' so-called former Model-C schools and the latter are our township schools, attended by 'black' children. The inequality in outcomes is staggering, and it reflects an inequality in resources that the WCED denies and obfuscates. Equal Education can demonstrate this inequality scientifically.

It is worth noting that the numeracy stats are far worse than these literacy figures.

As the table shows, the WCED has stoppd releasing the damning disaggregated results. The WCED is withholding these scores for the past two rounds of testing. Therefore we have no idea whether the inequality gap is closing or widening. It is this which we have now requested making use of the PAIA legislation.

It is particularly poor to have to use legal means to secure public information given comments made by MEC Donald Grant, in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in July 2009: "[T]he true extent of the problem has not been brought to the public's attention with sufficient vigor in the past. This administration believes that if we are to be accountable for our actions, we have to be open and honest about the true state of education in this Province."

EE intends to use every legal avenue to secure this information and to make it public. Click here to download the request sent to the WCED.

Contact: Doron Isaacs 0828502111

WCED illegally withholding public information