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Monday, November 29, 2021

Class of 2020: Matric Pass Rate Drops By 5.1 Percentage Points, Mainly Due To COVID-19


BASIC Education Minister Angie Motshekga has announced the matric results for the 2020 cohort, with the group achieving a pass rate of 76.2%.

This is a drop of 5.1 percentage points compared to the 2019 matric pass rate (81.3%). A total of 607,226 candidates entered for the November 2020 NSC examination, while a total of 578,468 students sat and wrote the exams.

“The overall pass rate, including progressed learners, is at 76.2%, which is a drop of 5.1%. As much as we have a drop, I am really grateful to all South Africans for helping us because I was expecting a blood bath,” said Motshekga, congratulating the ‘astonishing’ matric performance despite the devastation brought on the world by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also wish to commend all learners, teachers, Senior Management Teams, support staff, parents and our officials for the resilience they have shown in braving the novel COVID-19 pandemic, with a single goal of ensuring that the Class of 2020 receives optimum, but indispensable support.”

She said for the past ten years, basic education department has noted that the NSC pass rates have consistently been improving from 60% in 2009 to above 70% in recent years. 

“The Class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining this trend.  The 2020 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners included, stands at 76.2% – a decline of 5.1% from the record pass of 81.3% achieved by the Class of 2019,” said Motshekga.

“This represents a record of four hundred and forty thousand, and seven hundred and two (440 702) passes – an increase of 7.5% in the number of passes from 2019.  Without the progressed learners, the overall pass rate stands at 81.2% – a 1.1% decline from 2019.”

Motshekga said the high quality passes achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the ‘Class of 2020’. 

“We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate,” said Motshekga.  

“We are indeed proud of the Class of 2020, which persevered against such monumental challenges that our system was never exposed to in the past.  This Class, has characterised the resilience of the system, which withstood an unprecedented test of administering an examination of the largest number of candidates; faced by the worst pandemic in human history.”

Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) welcomed the 2020 National Senior Certificate (Matric) results. 

The teachers’ union said the decline in the pass rate, compared to the 2019’s 81,3%, does not come as a surprise following the disruptions experienced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2020 Class deserves our outmost praise for enduring the most challenging year. SADTU commends all the stakeholders, more especially the teachers and learners who gave their all to prepare and write this crucial examination under difficult conditions,” said Sadtu in a statement.

“We are however aware that some learners withdrew from their studies and therefore did not write the examination due COVID-19 fears. More praise goes to the rural, township and no-fee paying schools for attaining the most quality passes – a continuing trend. These schools who suffer due to lack of resources were the hardest hit by COVID-19 as they had little or no access to blended learning opportunities and therefore could not continue learning from home during lockdown. When schools eventually opened, learners from these schools could not easily adjust to the new COVID-19 environment as their schools could not meet all the COVID-19 protocols.”

Sadtu said as it commended the continuous improvement of results in these schools, we are fully aware of the fact that this has come at a huge prize.

Teachers had to conduct catch up lessons over weekends, holidays, early mornings and late afternoons to teach and prepare the matric class for these examinations.

However, Sadtu said, going an extra mile has become a norm for teachers and learners in these schools as they have to compensate for the inadequate resources they have. 

“The current post provisioning model puts learners in poorer communities at a disadvantage. We therefore call for an equitable funding formula so that we can see poorer schools receiving more resources. Individual school needs should be taken into account when budgeting,” the teachers’ union said.

“As we commend the results, we are however concerned with the continuous decline in the number of learners who take critical subjects like Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Sciences. As numbers decrease, we are equally disappointed with the low pass rate in these subjects. We believe this situation could be turned around if the department increased investment in the foundation phase and early childhood development phases. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) 2019 conducted at the Grade 5 level showed that 37% of learners demonstrated that they acquired basic mathematic knowledge and 28% demonstrated that they acquired basic science knowledge.”

The achievements by province, including the progressed learners, are as follows –

  • The Free State is the leading province at 85.1%, a decline of 3.2% from 2019;
  • Gauteng achieved at 83.8%, a 3.5% decline from 2019;
  • Western Cape achieved 79,9%, a decline of 2.4% improvement from 2019;
  • KwaZulu-Natal achieved at 77.6%, a decline of 3.7% from 2019;
  • North West achieved at 76.2%, a decline of 10.6% from 20219;
  • Mpumalanga achieved at 73.7%, a 6.6% decline from 2019;
  • Limpopo achieved at 68.2%, a 5.0% decline from 2019;
  • Eastern Cape achieved at 68.1%, a decline of 8.3% from 2019; and
  • Northern Cape achieved at 66.0%, a 10.5% decline from 2019.

In the 2020 NSC exams, the top ten (10) districts in the country are:

  • First, is Tshwane South from Gauteng with 89.6%;
  • Second, is Johannesburg West in Gauteng, with 88.1%;
  • Third, is Gauteng North in Gauteng with 87.0%;
  • Fourth, is Johannesburg North in Gauteng with 86.9%;
  • Fifth, is Sedibeng East in Gauteng, with 86.8%;
  • Sixth, is Fezile Dabi in the Free State, with 86.5%;
  • Seventh, is Thabo Mofutsanyana in the Free State, with 85.8%;
  • Tied at eighth, are Metro North in the Western Cape and Ekurhuleni South in Gauteng, with 85.4%;
  • Tenth, is Motheo in the Free State, with 85.2%;

(Source: Inside Education)

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