The Western Cape matric pass rate increases from 79.9% in 2020 to 81.2% in 2021

Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 20, 2022


Cape Town - The Western Cape has managed to get its National Senior Certificate (NSC) matric results back to pre-pandemic levels after it achieved a 81.2% pass rate in 2021.

This comes after last year when Western Cape matric pass rate slipped to 79.9%, which meant that for the first time since 2010, the province did not achieve an 80% pass rate.

The results were announced on Thursday evening by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who announced the national NSC results had increased to 76.4%. This is a 0.2% increase from 2020.

Motshekga said: “This represents a record of 537 687 candidates, who passed the 2021 NSC examinations – an improvement of 21.9% passes from 2020. Without the progressed learners, the overall pass rate stands at 79.8% – just 0.2% below the 80% pass rate.”

The Western Cape still retained its third position out of how all the province’s fared. This is the same as last year.

Here is how the rest of the provinces fared:

  • The Free State is the leading province at 85.7%, an improvement of 0.6% from 2020
  • Gauteng achieved 82.8%, a 1.0% decline from 2020
  • Western Cape achieved 81.2%, an improvement of 1.3% from 2020
  • North West achieved 78.2%, an improvement of 2.0% from 2020 – the third highest improvement
  • KwaZulu-Natal achieved 76.8%, a decline of 0.8% from 2020
  • Mpumalanga achieved 73.6%, a 0.1% decline from 2020
  • The Eastern Cape achieved 73.0%, an improvement of 4.9% from 2020 – the second highest improvement;
  • The Northern Cape achieved 71.4%, a 5.4% improvement from 2020 – the highest improvement
  • Limpopo achieved 66.7%, a 1.5% decline from 2020.

In terms of results per district, only two are from the Western Cape:

  • First is Tshwane South from Gauteng with 89.3%.
  • Second is Motheo in the Free State with 87.9%.
  • Third is Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 87.5%.
  • Fourth is Johannesburg West in Gauteng with 86.5%.
  • Tied in the fifth place are Ekurhuleni South in Gauteng and Metro North in the Western Cape with 86.2%.
  • Seventh is Lejweleputswa in the Free State with 85.6%.
  • Eighth is Xhariep in the Free State, with 85.5%.
  • Ninth is Johannesburg North in Gauteng with 84.9%.
  • Tenth is Eden and Central Karoo in the Western Cape with 84.4%.

Motshekga said that there is no doubt that the system has begun to reach the desired stability, and commended the unquestionable resilience of the schooling community, especially amid a devastating pandemic.

“The fact that we managed to enrol the highest number of full-time candidates for the 2021 NSC exams, is a clear sign that our communities have faith in the Basic Education system, and the NSC exams we are co-ordinating,“ Motshekga said.

“The high-quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2021.

“The classes of 2020 and 2021 produced the best results of quality in the history of the NSC exams. These two classes have characterised the resilience of the system, which withstood an unprecedented test of administering an examination of the largest number of candidates; faced by the worst pandemic in human history,” Motshekga added.

“In celebrating the great achievements of the Class of 2021, we must thank the principals, teachers, support staff, and parents for the work they continue to do. Schools are at the coalface of Basic Education delivery.

“The future of our learners, and the prosperity of our nation, is in your hands. We applaud you for the great work you continue to do on a daily basis,” Motshekga said.

MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer congratulated the Western Cape learners on their results, saying that she is “super proud” of them.

“I am absolutely delighted with the results of the Matric Class of 2021 in the Western Cape. Our provincial pass rate was announced by Minister Angie Motshekga this evening as 81.2% – an increase of 1.3 percentage points from last year.

“Considering that this was achieved after two years of a global pandemic, makes it even more remarkable,” Schäfer said.

“The Class of 2021 has had a tough two years. Their Grade 11 year in 2020 was marred by school closures, with their Grade going back to class later than many others.

“However, their matric year has been very stable, with more time in class than in other matric years.”

The matric results for 2021 shows that the Western Cape has clawed back from last year and is showing results in line with that of 2018.

The Western Cape matric pass rate since 2010 has been as follows:

  • 2010 – 76.7%
  • 2011 – 82.9%
  • 2012 – 82.8%
  • 2013 – 85.1%
  • 2014 – 82.2%
  • 2015 – 84.7%
  • 2016 – 86.0%
  • 2017 – 87.3%
  • 2018 – 81.5%
  • 2019 – 82.3%
  • 2020 – 79.9%

The Western Cape can also boast about having the highest Bachelor pass rate achieved ever in the province and the top Bachelor pass rate in the country at 45.3%.

Added to that is having the learner who came first in the whole country. Ulrich le Roux from Paarl Boys’ High School is the overall top NSC learner for 2021.

“So once again, we have come No 1 in terms of the quality of our education, even if not on the league table, and I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to the Class of 2021, their teachers, families and our officials, all of whom have put in so much effort to help them reach this excellent performance.

“You have made your province extremely proud, and proved that we can overcome the challenge of Covid-19. I remind you to celebrate safely,” Schäfer said.

Cape Argus