81.3% pass rate for class of 2019

07 January 2020 - 18:41 By Ernest Mabuza and Kgaugelo Masweneng
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has announced the 2019 matric results.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has announced the 2019 matric results.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times

South Africa's pass rate has increased from 78.2% in 2018 to 81.3% for the class of 2019.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam outcome on Tuesday evening in Midrand.

Motshekga said the top performing province was the Free State at 88.4%, followed by Gauteng with 87.2%, North West (86.8%), Western Cape (82.3%). KwaZulu-Natal (81.3%), Mpumalanga (80.3%), Eastern Cape and Northern Cape (both 76.5%) and Limpopo (73.2%).

A total of 790,405 candidates wrote the 2019 examinations at 7,416 examination centres during October and November last year. The department also conducted examinations for 212 pupils at correctional facilities.

"It is really a very large system, we had 147 question papers. There were 7.6-million scripts that were distributed to the examination centres," said Motshekga.

There was an increase in the number of districts that performed above 80%, from 34 to 45. There was also an increase in the number of schools that achieved a pass rate above 80% - from 2,934 in 2018 to 3,495 in 2019.

Motshekga said the top five performing districts were: Tshwane South (93.3%), Gauteng North (90.7%), Tshwane North (90.6%), Fezile Dabi in the Free State (90.3%) and Namaqua in Northern Cape (89.9%).

"All our provinces performed above 70%," she added.

The department said noted an increase in the number of quintile 1 to 3 schools (no-fee schools) from 1,961 in 2018 to 2,484 in 2019.

"We are encouraged that learners in lower quintiles are showing improvement. Between 2015 and 2019, we have made improvements in Bachelor admission in quintile 1 to 3 by 10%," said Motshekga.

The department of basic education uploaded its 2019 NSC Examination Report on its website.

The conclusion of the report provided a snapshot of the overall results. Among the findings were: 

  • The pass rate has increased from 78.2% in 2018 to 81.3%. "This is the highest pass rate in the last 25 years. Quality cannot be adjudged by numbers alone. There needs to be a deeper probe into certain quality indicators that will lead to higher quality outputs".
  • Six of the nine provinces achieved over 80%, which the report said was "extremely encouraging and where provinces have made significant gains, this needs to be further evaluated and good practices shared".
  • Three largely rural provinces demonstrated significant improvements in their overall percentage achievement, which indicates that intervention programmes are beginning to yield the desired outcomes:
    • Eastern Cape improved from 70.6% in 2018 to 76.5%;
    • Limpopo improved from 69.4% in 2018 to 73.2%; and
    • KwaZulu-Natal improved from 76.2% to 81.3%.

The number of candidates achieving admission to Bachelor's Degree programmes increased from 172,043 in 2018 to 186,058.

The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) matric class of 2019 achieved a pass rate of 98.82% - slightly down from the 98.92% registered in 2018.

This is a developing story.