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IEB bags a 98.39% National Senior Certificate pass rate even though the matrics were the 'true victims’ of the Covid-19 pandemic

One of Maris Stella’s top achievers, Shristi Sooklal. Picture: Supplied

One of Maris Stella’s top achievers, Shristi Sooklal. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 19, 2022

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DURBAN - THE Independent Examinations Board (IEB) has commended the Matric Class of 2021 for its excellent 98.39% National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“These Grade 12 learners were the true victims of Covid-19. They had to dig deep mentally and emotionally to find the strength to face the tremendous challenges of a radically changed teaching and learning environment of the last two years,” said IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer.

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She said most Grade 11 learners in 2020 spent much less time at school and were essentially the test cases of the greatest “online tuition experiment of our time”.

In a media statement on Tuesday, the IEB said that this year’s pass rate of 98.39% was slightly higher than last year’s pass rate of 98.06%.

“All candidates who passed achieved a pass good enough to enter tertiary study at one of the three levels: 89.2% of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, compared to 88.41% in 2020; 7.82% qualified for entry to diploma study, compared to 8.14% in 2020 and 1.37% achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level, compared to 1.5% in 2020.”

St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls principal Jonathan Manley said the school achieved a 100% pass rate with 355 distinctions.

Matriculants Skye Scoular achieved nine distinctions and Erin Lombard and Megan Turner each got eight distinctions.

“Given what these young women endured through 2020 and 2021, they have proven themselves to be an exceptionally strong cohort, both academically and emotionally,” Manley said.

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He added that six girls featured on the commendable and outstanding lists, and there were 23 instances where they achieved in the top 1% in their subject in the country.

Maris Stella principal Joan Schmidt said the matric class of 2021 showed courage and fortitude facing the challenges of the past two years.

“They persevered and overcame, producing outstanding results. Three matriculants were placed on the IEB Outstanding Achievers list. I thank the teachers for their commitment and attentiveness to the girls they taught,” Schmidt said.

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Kearsney College matriculants Ben Robertson and Matthew Jacobs each got eight As. Robertson was on the commendable achievement list and in the top 5% in South Africa in five subjects, and in the top 1% in engineering graphics & design, life orientation, maths and physical sciences.

He will be heading off to Stellenbosch University to follow a career of civil engineering and architecture. With a postgraduate degree, he hopes to gain work experience in the field. His biggest challenge was dealing with social and family life at home during the Covid-19 period.

“It was a tense period for everybody, and people you knew were getting sick. That, overlaid on other aspects of your life and school, became difficult to focus on.”

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Robertson encouraged the class of 2022 to have a routine, stay consistent and maintain a good balance between school work and social life.

One of Maris Stella’s top achievers, Shristi Sooklal, will study Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She said in the past two years they had to adapt to periods of online classes.

She said teachers did not allow them to fall behind with their work, and because of this they were better prepared for the matric year.

“At times as learners, we felt the need for a break from everything happening around us, including the Covid-19 restrictions and the July unrest.”

She also encouraged the class of 2022 to make time to socialise with friends and family and focus on being motivated.

“Without consistency, no matter what your goal is, you won’t be able to reach it.”

In October and November 2021, 12 857 full-time and 968 part-time candidates across southern Africa wrote the IEB NSC examinations. This is up from 2020, when there were 12 024 full-time candidates and 1 139 part-time.

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