IEB matric results: 98.9% pass rate

The Independent Examination Board (IEB) class of 2018 has scored a 98.9% pass rate with just a 0.2% increase from 2017.

The IEB, which is an independent assessment agency that offers exams in line with the national educational policy, released its results on Thursday. Just like the national senior certificate administered by the department of basic education, the IEB exams are also accredited by the national quality assurance body Umalusi.

This year saw more pupils sitting for the IEB exams. In 2018, 12 372 wrote the exams in comparison to 12 130 in 2017.

Of the 12 372 learners who wrote the exams, 90.65% are eligible to study for a university degree, 7.33% to study for a diploma, and 0.95% (a drop from 1.3%) achieved entry for study at a higher certificate level.

The IEB attributed the increased pass rate to the removal of achieving a 50% pass or more in designated subjects such as two official languages in home language and first additional language level, life orientation and mathematics or mathematical literacy in order to pass.


Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of pupils writing the IEB exams at 6674 and 2185 respectively.

The number of pupils writing the exams in Gauteng includes pupils who were registered with three distance-learning offices which have their headquarters in the province.

AP classes

Of the 2 676 learners from both IEB and public schools that wrote advanced programme (AP) courses in Mathematics, 79.7% achieved a pass above 40%. While 95.5% of 626 pupils writing AP English exams attained a pass mark of 40% and above.

Advanced programme classes are an extension course that is made available to any pupil in South Africa attending either public or IEB schools. The course, benchmarked by the United Kingdom’s qualifications authority, is considered to be the equivalent of the UK’s A-levels.

Outstanding pupils

The IEB does not rank its top 10 learners. It does, however, release a list of learners who have been acknowledged for outstanding achievement with the top marks in six or more subjects and a rating level of seven in Life Orientation.

Some of the schools that achieved outstanding results, and those include schools that have pupils who achieved distinctions in six or more subjects, include Brescia House, Clifton College, Crawford College and Lebone II College of Royal Bafokeng.

Sayuri Naidoo from Crawford College Lonehill, Johannesburg, is amongst the 61 pupils commended for her outstanding results. She plans to study a bachelor of medicine and surgery in the hope of becoming a doctor specialising in either plastic and reconstructive surgery or cardiothoracic surgery.

Education is more than exam results

In light of the exam results, chief executive of the IEB Anne Oberholzer looked at the true measure of “educatedness”, where she said the NSC results are “an indication of a learner’s performance at a point in time by means of an examination.”

READ MORE: Single matric exam a step closer

According to Oberholzer, the examination can only assess “a very small sample of the knowledge that could be associated with a specific subject and a limited number of skills associated with that subject”.

Therefore, Oberholzer said, it is the responsibility of the teacher “to provide children not just with knowledge and academic skills, but more importantly to draw on their innate curiosity to develop the softer skills of courage and perseverance.”

Meanwhile, basic education minister Angie Motshekga is also expected to release the 2018 matric results tonight. Before the release of the results, Motshekga will host the national top achievers in a breakfast. The national pass rate in 2017 was 75.1% with the number one province being Free State. 

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