DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said the challenges the matric class of 2020 had to overcome due to the Covid-19 pandemic had prepared them for any challenges that lay ahead.
KZN achieved a 77,6 % matric pass rate, coming fourth in the country.
Mshengu released the results at an event at the Anton Lembede School of Leadership and Innovation in La Mercy yesterday.
Mshengu said the 2020 matric pupils were pioneers who had faced the Covid-19 pandemic head-on under difficult circumstances that had not been experienced before.
“This is a class that earned the bragging rights for weathering the storm and coming out of it unscathed.
“The tests, trials and tribulations that you all had to go through bears testimony to the fact that from here you will go very far and remain ready to deal with any challenges that you might encounter along the way,” he said.
He added that last year’s matrics highlighted the divide in education between pupils in rural and urban areas in terms of online learning.
While KZN was ranked fourth in the country, Mshengu said the province had the highest number of successful matrics who sat for the exams.
The MEC said of the 135 276 candidates who sat for the National Senior Certificate in the province, 104 985 passed.
These included 51 060 pupils who achieved Bachelor passes, 35 195 with Diploma passes and 18 658 who achieved Higher Certificate.
“The province seems to be on an upward trajectory when it comes to passing Mathematics, having moved up to 51 % (pass rate) from 47% in the previous year,” said Mshengu.
He praised the Ugu District and its director Mfundi Sibiya for performing the best out of KZN’s 12 districts.
“Well done to you and your entire district team. Again, we say take this as another challenge for you to do even better in 2021,” he said.
He also acknowledged other districts that have consistently performed very well and those that had improved.
The top five districts included Ugu 81.7%, uMlazi 80.9 %, Umkhanyakude 80.6%, Amajuba 80.5% and Umgungundlovu 80.3%.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, who was also at the event, said the matric pupils had made the province proud under very trying circumstances.
“This is the class that has demonstrated resilience and tenacity and risen above all the circumstances with the help of your teachers, family and friends,” he said.
Zikalala said while education changes lives, life under Covid-19 had changed education drastically.
He said the introduction of online education and remote learning had now become the new normal.
He said while the Department has not overcome all its challenges in KZN schools, great progress had been made towards providing quality education and a conducive teaching and learning environment for teachers and pupils.
For those who did not earn a diploma, bachelor pass or may have to repeat matric, the Premier advised that they should not despair.
“We believe that success or failure is not defined by how one performs in matric. Success depends on the choices that one makes in life and one’s commitment to the art of self -discipline and hard work,” he said.
Mshengu dedicated the 2020 NSC results to the 253 teachers and 38 non-teaching employees who lost their lives due to Covid-19.
The overall pass percentage per district in KZN:
Ugu District 81,7 %
Umlazi District 80,9 %
Umkhanyakude District 80,6 %
Amajuba District 80,5 %
Umgungundlovu District 80,3 %
Ilembe District 76,9 %
Zululand District 76,7 %
Pinetown District 75,8 %
Harry Gwala District 75,0 %
King Cetshwayo District 74,8 %
Uthukela District 73,5 %
Umzinyathi District 72,6 %