Durban — KwaZulu-Natal has improved its matric pass rate by six percentage points and exceeded its target of going beyond 80%.
Announcing the results last night in Gauteng, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that KZN had scored 83%, jumping 6% from the 77% it had received previously.
The province’s improvement was also a fulfilment of a target set by Education MEC Mbali Frazer when she was appointed in a reshuffle announced by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube in August.
Frazer, a former teacher and unionist, had been confidently saying she was not expecting anything less than 80%; she said she was aiming for 100%.
The MEC and the premier will officially release the provincial results on Friday, with a breakdown of district performances.
The national pass rate also improved from 76.4% to 80.1%.
The signs that the province’s and national rates have improved was hinted at by the minister during her visit to the province to monitor the first day of school on Wednesday.
Motshekga whispered to the premier and MEC to expect surprises. With the large number of matric pupils sitting for exams in KZN every year, the province’s improvement is important since it cushions the national pass rate.
A total of 198 866 KZN pupils wrote matric finals last year.
The improvement was also welcomed by opposition parties and teacher unions in the province. National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) congratulated the class of 2022.
The union said these pupils started this phase of their education in 2020, at the onset of the Covid pandemic.
The union’s provincial chief executive officer, Thirona Moodley, said the pupils showed resilience and strength to embrace the “abnormal” schooling environment.
She also hailed teachers who adapted to “Covid teaching” and successfully brought this cohort of learners through the phase culminating in National Senior Certificate examinations.
“Education is a team effort: pupil, teacher and parent. It is impossible to achieve success if any of these partners is missing in the equation. The educators sacrificed their personal time, during weekends and school holidays, to make sure their learners were ready for the examinations,” said Moodley.
South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza said her union had also expected an increase in the pass percentage, because as teachers they had worked hard.
She said the teachers had implemented programmes like Just In Time, which focused on developing content knowledge for the teachers, which proved to be successful.
“Sadtu is very proud of our teachers. Given the effort they put in, we expected nothing less than 82% for KZN,” said Caluza.
National Teachers Union (Natu) also applauded teachers and matric pupils for a job well done.
The union’s general secretary, Doctor Ngema, said given the large number of pupils sitting for the examination in the province, 83% was a huge achievement, adding that those provinces regarded as top performers had fewer pupils than KZN.
Ngema said the improvement was more welcome because this cohort faced Covid-19 in Grade 10 during 2020, the July unrest in 2021, while in Grade 11, as well as floods in 2022.
Opposition parties also congratulated pupils and teachers for increasing pass rates, but warned that increasing numbers alone was not enough, as the quality of results was more important.
The IFP’s Mntomuhle Khawula said although they were happy with the improvement, his party was still concerned about teacher posts that had not been filled by the provincial department. He also urged the department to improve learner transport.
The EFF and ActionSA cautiously welcomed the improvement, but warned not to celebrate quantity, but quality. Both ActionSA chairperson Zwakele Mncwango and the EFF’s Mongezi Thwala said they would only celebrate the increase of bachelor passes.
KZN did not just increase numbers, but produced quality, as five of the matric pupils made it onto the national list of top achievers. The five, Sihle Khumalo from Congo High School in Richmond and Mthokozi Nkomo from Impiyamandla High in Ixopo, which are rural towns; Ntando Sibiya from Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School; Sinakhokonke Siyaya from Phendukani Full Service High School in Madadeni, and Lifalethu Zikode from Masibumbane High School in Ulundi, were part of the team invited by Motshekga to the breakfast and also to the announcement of results.
Speaking at the breakfast earlier in the day, the minister hailed the matric class of 2022, saying it had demonstrated much resilience. This was due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country from 2020.
“This was the group of matrics that we were really worried about, but you showed determination and resilience beyond major. On behalf of the government, we salute the class of 2022 for the sterling resilience they have shown through all the adversity they faced.
“This achievement guarantees them bursary offers, even temporary jobs for some.
“This is proof enough that the public school system is not broken, but a system on the rise,” Motshekga stressed.
She thanked the parents for their support and the teachers for the sincere efforts and hard work they put in to ensure the success of the matric learners.
Motshekga ended by advising the achievers to focus on their studies when they get to university, and not to get disrupted by other things.