76.4% pass rate for SA Matrics: Minister Motshekga shares some stats

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga congratulated the class of 2021 for achieving a pass rate of 76.4%. Motshekga addressed matriculants at a special breakfast hosted for top achievers this week.

“It is without doubt that the 2021 academic year, will be remembered as the year that, not only presented major health challenges, but as the second year in which the entire world was held to ransom by the novel COVID-19 pandemic. As at this stage, the Class of 2021, was the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they had to endure two consecutive years of harsh exposure to the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic. Government, with its Basic Education Departments and its strategic partners, worked tirelessly to strike a balance between saving lives and saving the 2021 academic year”.

The Stats:

2021 saw 61 789 progressed learners enrolling for the NSC examinations. 56 826 of the progressed candidates actually wrote the requisite seven subjects during the 2021 NSC examinations.

21 499 progressed learners passed the 2021 NSC examinations. This represents 37.8% of progressed learners, who wrote all seven subjects during the 2021 NSC examinations; and 4.0% of the 2021 passes. 3 440 of the progressed learners, obtained Bachelor passes – an increase of 13.6% from 2020; 8 394 obtained Diploma passes; 9 640 obtained Higher Certificate passes; and 10 obtained NSC passes. A total of 1 484 distinctions were attained by progressed learners, including distinctions in critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science.

2 489 learners with special education needs, enrolled for the 2021 NSC examinations – an increase of 10.7% from 2020. 2 397 of them actually wrote the 2021 NSC examinations – an increase of 19.1% from 2020. 1 937 of these learners, that is 80.8%, passed the exams. 879 and 636 of these learners, achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, respectively. 314 and 108 learners with special education needs obtained Higher Certificate and NSC passes, respectively. Learners with special education needs achieved a total of 508 distinctions – which is equivalent to 2.8% of the total number of distinctions, also in critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics and Physical Science.

Aggregation according to gender:

There were 77 250 more girls than boys, who enrolled for the 2021 NSC examinations – improvement of 7.4% from 2020; and there were 74 247 more girls than boys, who actually wrote the 2021 NSC examinations – an improvement of 11.4% from 2020. Overall, there were 297 152 girls, who passed the 2021 NSC exams – an improvement of 21.4% from 2020; and 240 535 boys, who passed the 2021 NSC exams – an improvement of 22.5% from 2020. When translated into percentages, this represents 76.4% girls, and 76.4% boys, who passed the 2021 NSC examinations – parity of the highest order.

There were 146 156 female candidates, who obtained Bachelor passes – an improvement of 21.4% from 2020; while 109 875 male candidates, obtained Bachelor passes – an improvement of 20.7% from 2020. Some 93 868 female candidates, obtained Diploma passes – an improvement of 16.7% from 2020; while 83 704 male candidates, obtained Diploma passes – an improvement of 19.1% from 2020.

More girls than boys achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes; thus more girls than boys are eligible to study at Higher Education Institutions. Also more girls than boys passed with distinctions. These distinctions include critical subjects, such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science. Clearly, we are systematically addressing social justice principles, especially equity and redress imperatives.

The 2021 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners included, stands at 76.4% – an improvement of 0.2% from the pass rate achieved by the Class of 2020. This, represents a record of 537 687 candidates, who passed the 2021 NSC examinations – an improvement of 21.9% passes from 2020. Without the progressed learners, the overall pass rate stands at 79.8% – just 0.2% below the 80% pass rate.

In 2021, a total of 211 725 distinctions were achieved – an increase of 19.3% from 2020. The main contributors towards passes with distinctions, were –

⦁ KwaZulu-Natal 61 887

⦁ Gauteng 47 399

⦁ Western Cape 29 542

⦁ Eastern Cape 24 174

and Limpopo 17 751.

The 2021 NSC examination results show that only one province achieved lower than the 70% pass rate; 5 provinces performed above the 70% pass rate; and 3 provinces performed above the 80% pass rate.

The achievements by province, are as follows:

⦁ The Free State is the leading province at 85.7%, an improvement of 0.6% from 2020

⦁ Gauteng achieved at 82.8%, a 1.0% decline from 2020

⦁ Western Cape achieved 81.2%, an improvement of 1.3% from 2020

⦁ North West achieved at 78.2%, an improvement of 2.0% from 2020 – the third highest improvement

⦁ KwaZulu-Natal achieved at 76.8%, a decline of 0.8% from 2020

⦁ Mpumalanga achieved at 73.6%, a 0.1% decline from 2020

⦁ Eastern Cape achieved at 73.0%, an improvement of 4.9% from 2020 – the second highest improvement

⦁ Northern Cape achieved at 71.4%, a 5.4% improvement from 2020 – the highest improvement and

⦁ Limpopo achieved at 66.7%, a 1.5% decline from 2020.

Motshekga concluded: “In celebrating the great achievements of the Class of 2021, we must thank the principals, teachers, support staff, and parents for the work they continue to do. Schools are at the coalface of Basic Education delivery. What you do at the school level, is what matters the most. The future of our learners, and the prosperity of our nation, is in your hands. We applaud you for the great work you continue to do on a daily basis.

I must thank His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet, the Portfolio and Select Committees responsible for Basic Education, my partner, the Honourable Deputy Minister – Dr Reginah Mhaule, the Honourable MECs responsible for Basic Education and their respective Heads of Departments for their stewardship, their leadership and their continued advice and support. I must thank the Director-General and his team of selfless officials for the hard work they continue to provide.

I also wish to thank our strategic partners – teacher unions; governing body associations; our business partners; the NECT; our statutory bodies – Umalusi and SACE; researchers, whose work we cannot do without; our sister departments; South Africans, who together with us, have made the stability and the improvement of our Sector their responsibility. We also wish to thank MTN for sponsoring this event; as well as the SABC for hosting us once again. Let me end by saying, the Governing Party was correct in declaring education a societal matter. All hands must be on deck, as the Class of 2022 may face three consecutive years of hardship, brought on us by the pandemic of COVID-19 and its variants. We therefore, encourage our 12-17 year-old learners to vaccinate; but do so, with parental consent. We also encourage our educators and support staff to get the booster shots. This is the best way we can protect our school communities from COVID-19 and its variants.

Once again, let me conclude by thanking the Class of 2021. Your future is in the palm of your hands; make the correct choices. Those candidates who did not do well in the NSC exams, do not despair. There are lots of life chances available. Those who wish to improve their results, should enrol for the Second Chance Matric Programme. Registration into the Programme, is already open, and will close on 15 February 2022. You will receive support from the DBE and our partners; you won’t be left to your own vices. I wish you all the best in your youthful lives”.

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