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One SA Movement calls for 50% matric pass mark

A national petition has been launched by OSA to end the 30% matric pass mark, with more than 3 400 people signing it at the time of writing. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

A national petition has been launched by OSA to end the 30% matric pass mark, with more than 3 400 people signing it at the time of writing. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 7, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - Civic organisation One South Africa Movement (OSA) believes the matric pass mark should be increased from 30% to 50% as a step towards equipping young people to compete and win in the global economy.

In a statement shared by OSA’s founder Mmusi Maimane on Friday, the organisation called on Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga to increase the matric pass mark.

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OSA said given that South Africa has the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, the current pass mark was hurting South Africa’s pupils, the education system and the economy in the long run.

OSA said the 30% matric pass mark “undermines the intellect of South Africa’s youth and allows for: obfuscation of the basic education crisis, education leaders to escape accountability and the entrenchment of mediocrity and low expectations”.

A national petition has been launched by OSA to end the 30% matric pass mark, with more than 3 400 people signing it at the time of writing.

The petition is unclear on the details of OSA’s proposition since South Africa’s current matric pass mark is not cut and dried at 30%.

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga clarified details on pass marks on Tuesday while on eNCA.

“If you get 30% in all the subjects, then you don’t pass. That’s why we are saying the 30% is not a pass,” Mhlanga said.

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Minimum requirements for three levels of South Africa’s matric pass

  • Bachelors pass: 50% in four subjects, even if a matriculant obtains 40% in two subjects and 30% in one subject
  • Diploma pass: 40% in four subjects, even if matriculants receive 30% in their remaining subjects
  • Higher certificate pass: 40% in three subjects, with matriculants able to score 30% in their remaining subjects.

Despite some education experts believing the matric pass rate for 2021 could be lower than 2020’s, Mhlanga felt otherwise as there were no school closures in 2021 and the class of 2021 “were supported in every way”.

South Africa’s matric pass rate in 2020 – the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and all of its consequences – was 76.2%, lower than 2019 and 2018.

Matric results will be released on January 21.

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