Bosa calls for minister’s head in spite of record 82.9% matric pass rate for 2023 examination

The top achievers of class of 2023 are honored during a ceremony by the minister of basic education Angie Motshekga in Fairlands Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

The top achievers of class of 2023 are honored during a ceremony by the minister of basic education Angie Motshekga in Fairlands Johannesburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Published Jan 20, 2024


Both the The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) and the National Senior Certificate (NSC) have released their matric results for the Matric Class of 2023.

While the IEB has reported a pass rate of 98.46% in the 2023 matric exams, Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, had high praise for the class of 2023 which achieved a record-breaking 82.9% compared to 80.1% in 2022.

The figure marked an improved by 2-point-8-percentage points from the previous matric year.

Motshekga, who released the official National Senior Certificate results at a media briefing in Fairlands, Johannesburg, on Thursday evening said this marked improvement should be celebrated as the highest since the dawn of democracy.

"This represents the highest percentage of passes since the dawn of democracy; we have more bachelor passes from this group and more distinctions coming from this cohort."

The minister had high praise for the provinces of the Free State, KZN and Gauteng, which produced the highest pass rates. KZN was also the leader of the pack with the most distinctions with districts such as Umkhanyakude at 90%, Ugu at 89.5%, Ilembe at 88.6% and Zululand at 87.2 %.

"The Free State is leading again at 89%, the second province is KZN at 86.4%, (with an) increased improvement of 3.4%. Gauteng is the third province at 85.4%."

These were followed by the North West at 81.6%, Western Cape at 81.5%, Eastern Cape at 81.4%, Limpopo at 79.5%,Northern Cape at 77% and Mpumalanga at 75.8%.

According to the minister, at least 715 719 candidates enrolled for examinations. In the end, only just over 600 000 matriculants sat down for the exams.

On the other hand, the IEB reported a significant increase in candidates, with 15 186 students said to have participated in the 2023 exam, compared to 13 525 who wrote matric exams in 2022.

The increase has been credited to 17 new schools, bringing 960 candidates into the IEB system for the first time in 2023.

This week, Umalusi, the quality assurance body for both exams approved of the IEB matric exams with its executive committee approving the results as meeting the NSC regulations.

However, that has not stopped calls for the minister to step down amid falling standards as alluded to by BuildOneSA (Bosa) leader, Mmusi Maimane.

Ahead of Thursday’s announcement of results, Bosa’s acting spokesperson, Roger Solomon, confirmed that the party had launched a nationwide petition for the removal of the minister.

The party has cited falling standards in the country’s public education as its main issue of contention. It added that the Department of Basic Education’s diagnostic report had in the past revealed that fewer than 50% of students who took mathematics, had achieved less than the required 50% pass mark.

This was also the case in key subjects such as accounting, economics, life sciences and business studies.

“The under-performance of government in addressing this widens the inequality gap in society and undermines the future of millions of young people.

“The DBE’s own Diagnostics Report shows that the overwhelming majority of students who take crucial subjects in matric attain less than 50% in those subjects. The report’s data shows that over the past six-year period (2015 – 2020), a concerning small percentage of students who wrote the matric exams achieved 50% or higher in crucial subjects,” Solomon said in a statement on Thursday.

Solomon said the reports indicates a declining pass rates in mathematics at 21.3%; physical science (27.1%); accounting (28.8%); life sciences (29.6%); economics (20.7%) and business studies at 28.4%. The same can be said of the country’s dwindling literacy levels, he added.

“Eight out of every 10 children in South Africa cannot read for meaning by the age of 10. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), 81% of Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning,” Solomon said.

Spokesperson for Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, scoffed at calls for the minister to resign, describing these calls as “silly”.

Saturday Star

[email protected]