CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape’s Matric Class of 2021 made strides in their National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, not only recording a 81.2% pass rate, an improvement of 1.3% from 2020, but producing the top performing pupil in the country.
Of the 211 725 national passes with distinctions, the province contributed 29 542 after Gauteng with 47 399, and KwaZulu-Natal that produced the most with 61 887 distinctions
Three districts in the province made it into the country's top ten district level performances.
Metro North, with 86.2% clinched to the fifth place, while Eden and Central Karoo, obtained 84.4%.
Last night, while announcing the matric pass rate, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said even though they were the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the national Matric Class of 2021 scored an improved pass rate compared to the previous year, at 76.4%.
The Free State retained its position with the highest number of matric pupils to pass, while Gauteng declined in its performance last year.
The Western Cape achieved 81.2 percent – an improvement of 1.3 percent – while the North West achieved 78.2 percent, an improvement of 2 percent. KwaZulu-Natal achieved 76.8 percent, a decline of 0.8 percent, and Mpumalanga achieved 73.6 percent, a decline of 0.1.
The Eastern Cape achieved a 73.0 percent, an improvement of 4.9 percent, while the Northern Cape achieved 71.4 percent, an improvement of 5.4 percent. Limpopo achieved 66.7 percent , a decline of 1.5 percent.
Among the 75 education districts in the country, the top 10 districts were in three provinces – four each from the Free State and Gauteng; and two from the Western Cape.
Earlier, while hosting the matrics at a break in Houghton yesterday, Motshekga described the matric class of 2021 top’s 33 learners as belonging to a “class of their own.”
These top 33 learners were among almost 1 million part-time and full-time learners who sat for the 2021 matric exams.
She said they triumphed despite the turbulence and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which started while they were in Grade 11, saying “you have made it. You survived.”
“It is a huge gesture to celebrate a top learner in a public school. This breakfast provides a rare opportunity to celebrate excellence. It is not child’s play to become a top learner in the system. It is a big achievement. You set the bar very high. Through thick and thin you persevered until the end,” she said.
While the class of 2021 improved results compared to the class of 2020, which obtained an overall matric pass rate of 76.2%, Motshekga was also proud of the class of 2020.
Reacting to the results on Thursday night, teacher Union Naptosa said the past two years had indeed been extremely challenging for all in the education sector, especially the class of 2021.
“Loss of teaching time in their Grade 11 year (as much as 50%), the psychological impact of the pandemic, having often to work in isolation, as well as load shedding have further impacted learner performance in 2021.
“Naptosa is therefore pleased with the pass rate of 76.4%, which represents a marginal increase from 2020. This improved result is remarkable in the context of the difficulties that the class of 2021 faced. Clearly, dedication, resilience, and hard work once again proved to be the elements of success on the part of both the learners and teachers.”