5 January 2012
70.2% of the matriculants who sat for the 2011 National Senior Certificate examinations at South Africa’s state schools passed their exams – a 2.4 percentage point increase on the previous year’s pass rate of 67.8%.
“I am pleased to announce that the national pass rate for the Class of 2011 is 70.2%,” Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Wednesday evening, describing the progress as encouraging.
“South Africa congratulates the Class of 2011.”
In total, 496 090 candidates sat for their exams in 2011, compared to 537 543 candidates in 2010, while 80 116 part-time students wrote their exams.
24.3% of Grade 12 learners qualified for Bachelors’ studies – an increase from the year before, when the figure was 23.5%. A total of 104 033 matrics passed mathematics and a further 96 441 passed physical science.
Improvement in science, concern over maths
The department was pleased with the improved performance in science, while remaining concerned about the number of passes in maths, 46.3% compared to 2010’s 47.4%.
Motshekga said the department would focus on a strategy to improve the pass rate in science and maths in 2012. There was also a drop in the pass rate for economics, due to learners having difficulty with questions based on contemporary economic issues.
The department is also expected to focus on improving the participation of girl pupils and helping schools to improve pupils’ subject choices, working with partners from the private sector.
Among South Africa’s nine provinces, the Western Cape registered the highest pass rate in 2011, at 82.9%, followed by Gauteng at 81.1%. The Eastern Cape had the lowest pass rate at 58.1%.
‘Still a long way to go’
The minister acknowledged that there was still a long way to go to eradicate inequity, and that the results of the 2011 Annual National Assessments (ANA) were generally unfavourable.
She said the department knew where the problems were and would refine the ANA.
Learners in grades 1 to 6 and grade 9 will write the 2012 ANA in September, with the national ANA results to be announced in December.
“We congratulate the Class of 2011 for a job well done, particularly those who performed exceptionally well,” Motshekga said. “Some of you may be disappointed with your results. There are many options open to you to improve your results. Try again, don’t give up now.”
The exams were incident-free and proceeded without significant problems. “This goes to show the maturity of our examination system,” Motshekga said.
The department’s director-general, Bobby Soobrayan, said the results were evidence of intervention programmes introduced by the department.
“This is evidence of a maturing system; teachers have come to grips with the curriculum,” Soobrayan said.
“The Class of 2011 was smaller than the Class of 2010, which shows that it’s a system searching for equilibrium,” Soobrayan added.