Some 67,8% of matrics passed last year’s exams — up from 60,7% in 2009, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday.
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She described the pass rate as a “significant achievement” and said it was possible that the 2010 public-sector strike might have robbed the department of its targeted 70% pass rate.
Chief director of exams Nkosinathi Sishi said at the same news briefing in Pretoria that 364 513 pupils passed their exams. There were 643 546 candidates who sat for the exams, of whom 537 543 wrote all seven subjects. Of those, 23,5% obtained university entrance, up from 19,9%.
There were 18 schools where no pupils passed and 504 schools that achieved a 100% pass rate.
In 2009, 60,7% of matrics passed the 2009 exams, which was just under 2% down from 2008, in which 62,5% of matrics passed.
Sishi said nine subjects had been adjusted upwards and 10 had been adjusted downwards.
Exam papers were marked at 127 marking centres and the results were made available to Umalusi, the Council of Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, on December 24.
Gauteng was the top province with a 78,6% pass rate, followed by the Western Cape, which achieved 76,8%, Motshekga said.
This was followed by the Northern Cape with 72,3% — the biggest improvement by a province. In 2009 the Northern Cape had a 61,3% pass rate.
KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State each had a pass rate of 70,7%. The Eastern Cape had a 58,3% pass rate followed by Limpopo and Mpumalanga, which had pass rates of 57,9% and 56,8% respectively.
Gauteng also led with the number of pupils who obtained university entrance at 33,9%. It was followed by the Western Cape with 31,5%.
There were 2 142 schools that obtained a pass rate of between 80% and 100%, while 1 848 obtained a pass rate of between 60% and 79,9%. One-hundred-and-seventy two obtained a pass rate of 20% or less.
Motshekga said there was still much work to be done to further improve the results.
Deputy Basic Education Minister Enver Surty said the results were accurate. By the time of the World Cup and subsequent public-sector strike, most schools had already completed the syllabus, he said.
“The teachers themselves have worked hard, notwithstanding the industrial action.”
Motshekga said the improvement in the pass rate must be sustained. “There is no turning back now. The increase is a significant achievement we can write home about and be proud of,” she said.
“I take my hat off to the class of 2010.”
She said the pupils had been motivated by the Fifa World Cup.
“The class of 2010 was simply distinctive … the World Cup was not a disruption. It motivated schools, parents, and officials to go the extra mile.”
“The exams went smoothly and the department consistently worked to ensure credibility of exams,” she said. — Sapa