Western Cape Top Achievers with Education for MEC Debbie Schäfer. Picture: Supplied
Western Cape Top Achievers with Education for MEC Debbie Schäfer. Picture: Supplied

Covid-19 blamed for drop in Western Cape matric pass rate

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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Cape Town - For the first time since 2010, the Western Cape dipped below 80% in its matric pass rate, dropping from 82.3% in 2019 to 79.9%.

The province however achieved increases in both the maths (70.8%) and maths literacy (82.9%) pass rates, as well as boasting the top two candidates in maths nationally for the second year in a row.

It has also achieved an increase in the number of Bachelor passes, with 22 634 of the 51 633 candidates that wrote in the Western Cape, which is 43.8% compared to 43.6% last year.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said all provinces saw their pass rates decline – “an understandable outcome during a pandemic that severely disrupted schooling around the world”.

"I am pleased to report that our pass rate has suffered the least of any of the provinces. Our pass rate declined by 2.4% compared to last year, to 79.9%. This impact is lower than the average national decrease of 5.1%, and the lowest decline of any of the provinces," said Schäfer.

UWC Education faculty’s deputy dean of research, Rouaan Maarman, said the achievers must be congratulated and the teachers and schools who did well must be encouraged to continue in that way.

Maarman said the results were acceptable in the context of the pandemic challenges. This year the results were a lot more contextual and many stakeholders would study the results deeper going forward.

Western Cape top candidates are 3rd place in Quintile 5 and nationally: Sonica Roux from Outeniqua High School, 2nd place in Quintile 3: Ayabukwa Nombela from Manzomthombo Senior Secondary, Special Ministerial Award: Sonja Jamima Jonkers from Jan Kriel School.

Maths 1st place: Daniel Alwyn Gouws from Hermanus High School; maths 2nd place: Veren Naidoo from Rondebosch Boys’ High School.

Daniel, 19, who wants to pursue a career in electronic engineering at Stellenbosch University, said he was excited although nervous after writing his maths papers 2.

His mother, Anne Marie Gouws said the family were excited. She said after Daniel wrote the second paper, he struggled to sleep.

ANC provincial spokesperson on education, Khalid Sayed, said the fact that the Western Cape has dropped to below 80% was a cause for serious concern.

"It is also worth noting that the province has only one district in the top 10 best performing districts, with Metro North coming in at 8," said Sayed.

On Monday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the national NSC pass rate stands at 76.2% – a decline of 5.1% from the record pass of 81.3% achieved by the class of 2019.

The class of 2020 sat for their NSC exams on November 5 and concluded exams on December 17, following two rewrites of the maths paper 2 and physical sciences paper 2 after they were leaked.

Despite these leaks, the NSC exams were still set to the satisfaction of Umalusi, the Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training.

SA Democratic Teachers Union general secretary Mugwena Maluleke commended all the stakeholders, especially the teachers and learners “who gave their all” to prepare and write the crucial exam under difficult conditions.

"We are however aware that some learners withdrew from their studies and therefore did not write the exam due Covid-19 fears," said Maluleke.

Cape Argus

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