Picture: Noni Mokati/IOL

Johannesburg - The public school matric pass rate has improved once again, jumping to 75.1% in the last year. 

Announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday night, the pass rate improved by 2.6% from the 72.5% achieved by the class of 2016.

Motshekga said the 2017 national pass rate would stand at 76.5% if progressed matrics were left out. The 2016 pass rate excluding progressed matrics was 76.2%. 

The 2017 pass rate means 401 435 of the almost 800 000 candidates that wrote the examinations passed. A total of 133 049 failed. “Well done to the Class of 2017,” said a triumphant Motshekga.

Read: #MatricResults2017: NSC 2017 pass rate is 75.1% - Motshekga

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Matrics in Free State once again outperformed their counterparts in other provinces, achieving an  89.8% pass rate. But this was decline of 3.4% from 2016.

Gauteng took second position with 86%, a decline of 1% from 2016. The Western Cape came third with 84.4%,declining by 3.3%.

North West achieved 82.1%, but dropping 4.1% from the 2016 pass rate, but claiming fouth position. The Northern Cape stood at fifth, with 77.6%.

Attaining a 65.8% pass rate, the Eastern Cape retained its position as a worst performing province. And so did Limpopo with 67.4%.

Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal hovered in the middle, respectively with 76.6% and 73.6%.

“For the past seven years, we have noted that the NSC pass rate has consistently been above the 70% threshold. The class of 2017 must be commended for maintaining this trend,” said Motshekga.

Before that, in 2010, the pass rate was 67.8%. It was dim in 2009, standing at 60.6%. 

The 2008 pass rate was 62.5%. The public schools’ highest peak was 2013 with over 78% pass rate.

Motshekga said she has noted the upward trend in the performance of the country’s three most rural provinces, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

“The improvement in these rural provinces, is a clear indication that our pointed interventions, based on our National Strategy for Learner Attainment, have begun to bear good fruit.

“What we dare not do is to drop the ball. We must continue with our pointed interventions, so that the levels of teaching and learning outcomes in these three rural provinces, continue to rise.”

Mathanzima Mweli, the department’s director-general, pointed out that the class of 2017 was the fourth cohort to write the Caps curriculum. 

He said the 2017 results show the public education system was improving. “There’s high degree of stability. We’re beginning to see that stability in the system,” said Mweli. 

Motshekga revealed that 314 943 of the 2017 matriculants achieved bachelor and diploma passes. These are eligible to enrol at traditional universities and universities of technology.

This cohort is way more than places available for first year students at the country’s 25 traditional universities and universities of technology.

A total of 86 364 of 2017 candidates obtained certificate passes and are in position to enrol at TVET colleges and other skills training institutions.

“We encourage the 133 049 candidates, who did not make it, to register for the Second Chance programme,” said Motshekga.

Progressed pupils are those pushed to grade 12 despite failing grade 11. They numbered 107 430 out the almost 800 000 total number of candidates.

Motshekga celebrated the achievement of the progressed pupils who made it, saying they have been thrown a chance at a better life.

“The significance of these achievements, is that the 18 751 progressed learners, who passed the 2017 NSC examinations – the would-be-high-school repeaters and dropouts if they were not progressed, now have a golden opportunity to access either university or TVET college,” said Motshekga.

“We wish to thank all provinces, especially Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal for the extra support and pointed interventions they gave to these learners.

“If these provinces did not do this, some of the progressed young people, could have fallen through the cracks of the system, due to continuous repetition and ultimate drop-out from the system,” said Motshekga.

A total of 115 school have obtained 100% passes over the past five years. “We intend increasing this number,” said Mweli.

Motshekga concluded: “Once again, I take off my hat to the class of 2017, and I wish them the best in their future. I believe that you will continue to shine wherever you are.”

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The Star