SA’s matric pass rate dips to 75.8%

5 January 2015

South Africa’s 2014 matric students achieved a pass rate of 75.8%, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced at the SABC in Johannesburg on Monday.

While the 75.8% pass rate represents a 2.4 percentage point drop from the 2013 pass rate of 78.2%, Motshekga said the bar had been raised to improve the quality of the examination outcome and enhance the quality and standard of Grade 12 graduates.

“At the beginning of the exams, I did announce much more stringent marking criteria. Marker appointments were also audited and a tighter moderation process was put in place,” Motshekga said.

The National Senior Certificate exam was written by 550 127 full-time and 1387nbsp;533 part-time candidates. This is the first year the new national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) programme has been tested at matric level.

Of the total number of learners who wrote the NSC exam, 150 752 (28.3%) qualified for admission to bachelor studies.

The class of 2014 will be able to access their results on Tuesday.

Motshekga said the 135 943 learners who qualified to write supplementary exams in February and March would will be given special support to prepare.

“After receiving their results, they should start immediately to prepare for their supplementary exams,” she said.

There has been an increase in achievements by distinction in some subjects, the minister said. History increased from 3.3% to 4.1%; Mathematical Literacy increased from 1.8% to 2.4%; and Physical Science increased from 3.0% to 3.3%.

How SA’s provinces fared

“All provincial education departments have worked tirelessly and consistently hard,” Motshekga said. “Preparations for grade 12 start at grade R and therefore there is no grade less important than the other.”

Gauteng was the most successful province, recording a 84.7% pass rate – down 2.3 percentage points from 87% in 2013.

Gauteng contributed the highest number of candidates qualifying for bachelor studies at 36 843, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 35 724 and Western Cape at 18 524.

The North West was the second best performing province, with a pass rate of 84.6% – down from 87.2% in 2013.

The Free State, which was the top province in 2013, came in third with 82.8%, down from 87.4% in 2013.

The Eastern Cape had the poorest results, achieved 65.4%. This, however, is an increase of 0.5 percentage points from 64.9% in 2013.

KwaZulu-Natal achieved 69.7%, a decline from 77.4% in 2013, and a drop of 7.7 percentage points. It is the steepest decline of all the provinces.

“We need to look seriously into the factors affecting KZN’s performance,” Motshekga said.

The Western Cape achieved 82.2%, down from 85.1% in 2013, a decline of 2.9 percentage points.

Improvements

Limpopo achieved 72.9% in 2014, a 1.1 percentage point increase from 71.8% last year.

“Limpopo needs to be congratulated for sustaining the upward trend in the midst of many challenges bearing in mind that this group of learners was the group that was affected by delays in the delivery of books in 2012,” said Motshekga.

The number of bachelor passes in the province is also notable at 16 325.

The Northern Cape improved its pass rate by almost 2 percentage points, achieving 76.4%, up from 74.5% in 2013. This is the highest improvement in 2014.

Mpumalanga achieved 79%, up by 1.4 percent from 77.6% in 2013.

District performance

Motshekga said none of the 81 education districts in the country had performed below 50%. Last year, one district in the Eastern Cape had performed below 50%.

“In the Eastern Cape, the eight districts that performed between 50% and 59% have been reduced to five, with two districts from KwaZulu-Natal joining this category. Twelve districts from the Eastern Cape performed under 69%, four from KwaZulu-Natal and one from Limpopo,” Motshekga said.

She said four out of five districts in the Free State performed above 80%, with the fifth district achieving between 70% and 79%.

“In Gauteng, 13 out of 15 districts performed above 80% and the other two performed between 70% and 79%. In Limpopo, one out five performed above 80%, while in Mpumalanga one out of four.

“In the Northern Cape, one out of four performed above 80% and in the Western Cape all districts performed above 80%,” Motshekga said.

The top six performing districts are:

  • Gauteng West at 92.7%;
  • Sedibeng East District at 90.7%;
  • Ekurhuleni North at 88.7%;
  • West Coast in the Western Cape 88.4%; and
  • Overberg in the Western Cape and Johannesburg South both at 88.1%.

Initiatives

Motshekga said the focus in 2014 was on improving performance in key gateway subjects and supporting under-performing schools and their principals.

“These initiatives have yielded results. However, there is much more work that needs to be done and it starts on the first day of school for all grades,” she said.

For the past four years, the pass rate has increased from 60.6% in 2009 to 78.2% in 2013.

Motshekga said the quality of education of any system is predicated on the quality of its teachers.

She said the qualification profile of teachers in the sector has improved from 53% in 1990 to 97% in 2013.

“Going forward, we will work hard to sustain improvement in learner performance, enhanced accountability at all levels of the system, greater focus on basic functionality of schools, and protecting time for teaching and learning,” Motshekga said.

SAinfo reporter