BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday that the national NSC pass rate stands at 76.2%. Picture: GCIS
BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday that the national NSC pass rate stands at 76.2%. Picture: GCIS

Western Cape matric pass rate drops to below 80% for first time since 2010

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Feb 22, 2021

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Cape Town - The Western Cape has just missed out on achieving an 80% pass rate for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) matric results, making it the first time since 2010 that the province has not achieved this feat.

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 their exams on December 17, following two rewrites of the mathematics 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.

The Western Cape came in the third position with the pass rate of 79.9%, a decline of 2.4% from 2019. It trailed the Free State, which achieved an 85.1% pass, and Gauteng with a 83.8% pass.

The provincial performance was as follows:

  • Free State – 85.1%
  • Gauteng – 83.3%
  • Western Cape – 79.9%
  • KwaZulu Natal – 77.6%
  • North West – 76.2%
  • Mpumalanga – 73.7%
  • Limpopo – 68.2%
  • Eastern Cape – 68.1%
  • Northern Cape – 66%

All the provinces experienced a decline in the pass rate from last year’s matric results.

The Western Cape’s 79.9% NSC pass rate means that for the first time since 2010, the province has not achieved an 80% pass rate.

The Western Cape matric pass rate for the past 10 years 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%

“The overall pass rate including the progressed learners is at 76.2% a drop of 5.1%. I am grateful to all of South Africa. I was expecting a bloodbath. I am grateful to all teachers. We tried all in our powers to claw back time, but we can’t,” Motshekga said.

“For the past 10 years, we have noted that the NSC pass rates have consistently been improving from 60% in 2009 to above 70% in recent years. The Class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining this trend,” she said.

Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer congratulated all learners who achieved their matric under difficult circumstances and amid great uncertainty.

“While 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.

"While we have seen a decline in the “pass rate”, there are many things to celebrate. Despite the lockdown, the disruption to the school calendar, and the uncertainty throughout the year, we have seen that the quality of our matric passes has once again improved.

“Throughout 2020, it has not been easy to determine the real impact of Covid-19 on the Class of 2020 with regards to the retention of learners in the system. Despite many negative predictions, I was pleased to see that the effects were not as bad as some have reported in the Western Cape,” Schäfer said.

“We have always placed great emphasis on ensuring that we keep as many learners in the school system for as long as possible, and that they get the opportunity to write and pass their NSC.

“I am extremely proud of the Class of 2020 which, in these difficult circumstances, chose to #CommitToFinish their matric.”

Cape Argus

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