Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announcing the results of the National Senior Certificate exams in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: GCIS
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announcing the results of the National Senior Certificate exams in Pretoria yesterday. Picture: GCIS

Matric 2020: Highest level of bachelor passes achieved in Western Cape

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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Cape Town – In what had all the signs of being the strongest matric class in the country's history, the 2020 cohort's 76.2% pass rate is beyond expectation, and testament to teachers' and learners' resilience to hold their own in unprecedented times.

In releasing the highly-anticipated National Senior Certificate (NSC) results yesterday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said although the pass rate dropped from 81.3% in 2019, the quality of passes in 2020 was better than the previous year.

In the Western Cape, the number of Bachelor-entry passes has increased to the highest level ever at 43.8%.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said 22 634 of the 51 633 candidates who wrote in the Western Cape achieved a Bachelor pass.

During a technical briefing yesterday, Department of Basic Education (DBE) director-general Hubert Mweli said because 2020 was a curve-ball year, they compared data from the class of 2020 against the results of the class of 2019, when they were in Grades 10 and 11, respectively, to get an understanding of their progress.

The results, Mweli said, showed that the matrics of 2020 outperformed the 2019 class academically when in the lower grades.

The 2019 matric class successfully exceeded an above 80% pass rate for the first time, and DBE deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said the class of 2020 would have been the strongest yet.

“It must be acknowledged that in spite of a very difficult year, this cohort exceeded expectations. It's a pity this class may not have been granted a full opportunity to demonstrate their full potential.

’’As indicated, the analysis we've done confirms the class of 2020 would've been our strongest cohort.

“It must be reiterated that the Covid-19 pandemic does not remove any of the DBE's priorities outlined in the action plan, but reshapes existing priorities,” Mhaule said.

Nationally, in 2019 a total of 616 754 full-time NSC candidates were entered into the final exam, of which 504 303 wrote.

In 2020, the figures showed 607 226 full-time candidates were entered, of which 578 468 wrote.

This represents 74 165 more candidates who wrote the final exam in 2020.

The Free State province was again the leading province in 2020 at 85.1%, a decline of 3.2% from 2019.

It was followed by Gauteng which achieved an 83.8% pass rate, a 3.5% decline; and the Western Cape which achieved 79.9%, a decline of 2.4%.

Schäfer said the Western Cape achieved increases in pass rates for both maths, at 70.8%, and maths literacy at 82.9%.

The province also boasts the top two candidates in maths nationally for the second year in a row.

First place in maths was awarded to Daniel Alwyn Gouws from Hermanus High School, with Veren Naidoo, from Rondebosch Boys' High School, second.

Motshekga noted that there were 70 565 progressed learners in the 2020 matric class, of whom 65 499 sat the exams, and 24 244 passed.

Motshekga said without the progressed learners, all provinces performed above 70% and five provinces performed above 80%.

A total of 2 058 learners with special education needs wrote the 2020 NSC exams, of whom 1 757 passed – 943 and 582 of them achieving Bachelor and Diploma entry passes, respectively.

Motshekga said at no-fee schools combined, 275 615 learners passed – with 115 444 obtaining entry into Bachelor courses.

“The poignancy of this increase lies in what research tells us, that in 2005, 60% of the Bachelor passes came from the best performing 20% of the schooling system.

“However, with the introduction of pro-poor policies in the education system in 2015, no-fee schools produced 51% of the Bachelor passes, which increased to 58% in 2020 (compared to 55% in 2019).

“The significance of this is that the gap between the Bachelor passes produced by no-fee schools versus those produced by fee-paying schools has significantly and progressively increased from 2% in 2015, to 13% in 2020 – a 3% improvement from 2019. This is remarkable indeed,” Motshekga said.

Learners can collect their results from their schools from midday today. Alternatively, they can visit the WCED’s website to check the results from midday:

Cape Times

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