2021 matrics set new record with a pass rate of 76.4%

The matric class of 2021 achieved a pass rate of 76.4%, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from 2020.

This pass rate represents the 537 687 learners who passed the national senior certificate, of 897 163 candidates who registered for the exams, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said when announcing the results on Thursday evening.

Motshekga said 433 603 candidates attained passes qualifying them to study for bachelor’s degrees and diplomas at university, and 103 859 candidates achieved a higher certificate pass, making them eligible to study at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.

Students at schools who wrote the Independent Examinations Board matric exams achieved a pass rate of 98.39%.

“The high quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of bachelor and diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the class of 2021,” said Motshekga.

She noted that both the classes of 2020 and 2021 had managed to achieve an increase in the pass rate, despite studying in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These two classes have characterised the resilience of the system, which withstood an unprecedented test of administering an examination of the largest number of candidates; faced by the worst pandemic in human history,” Motshekga added.

The Free State again had the highest pass rate, at 85.7%, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from 2020. Gauteng was second with a pass rate of 82.8%, down one percentage point from 2020, and the Western Cape was in third place with 81.2%, an increase of 1.3 percentage points.

At least 78.2% of candidates who wrote the national senior certificate exams in the North West passed; in KwaZulu-Natal the pass rate was 76.8%, in Mpumalanga 73.6%, and the Eastern Cape 73%. The Northern Cape was in eighth place with a pass rate of 71.4%, an increase of 5.4 percentage points from 2020. Limpopo came in last with 66.7%.

Some 297 152 girls passed the national senior certificate; of these, 146 156 obtained a bachelor’s pass and 93 868 obtained a diploma pass. This compared with 

240 535 boys who passed the national senior certificate, with 109 875 achieving a bachelor pass and 83 704 obtaining a diploma pass.

Motshekga said most distinctions were achieved by girls in critical subjects like accounting, business studies, economics, mathematics and physical science.

“It is remarkable to note that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo — the three most rural provinces in the country — produced a combined total of 121 312 bachelor passes, which is equivalent to 47.4% and an improvement of 26.6 percentage points from 2020,” Motshekga added.

She encouraged learners who had not passed to enrol for the second-chance matric programme. Registration for the programme is already open and will close on 15 February.

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Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

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