Class of 2015: Opposition reacts to declining pass mark


The 2015 matric results have been met with criticism from opposition parties with most accusing the Department of Basic Education of poor leadership.

On Tuesday, Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the pass rate had had dropped from 75.8% in 2014, to 70.7% with the mark excluding so-called progressed learners who were put through to grade twelve.

Out of the nine provinces, the Western Cape registered the highest pass rate with an increase of 2.5% from 82.2% in 2014, to 84.7%.

Declines were however posted in the remaining eight provinces with Gauteng being the second highest at 84.7% (-0.5%), followed by the Free State on 81.6% (-1.2%), North West with 81.5% (3.1%) and Mpumalanga on 78.6% (-0.4%).

The Eastern Cape again rated at the worst performing province with the pass mark falling from 65.4% to 56.8%.

Speaking in a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Gavin Davis, said the decline is evident that the system “is failing millions of poor children”, before describing it as “a national tragedy we cannot shy away from”.

“Two decades after the end of Apartheid, a child’s scholastic success is still very much determined by the province they live in and what school they go to,” he said.

“If we are to improve the matric results across the board, we need to look at what the best performing provinces are doing right and what the worst performers are doing wrong”.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi stated that results were “false and misleading” as only 43.1% of students who started their schooling in 2004, made is passed matric.

“In 2004 there were 1 303 016 learners who registered for grade one. Yet only 801 688 of them sat for matric exams. It means more than 500 000 learners are lost and cannot be accounted for,” Ndlozi said.

“The calculation of matric outcomes and pass rate should always tell the full story which must start from grade one of enrolment to grade 12. Not doing so gives a false picture of our performance as a country”.

Taking a swipe at Motshekga’s blaming of progressed students for the sharp pass rate decline, Ndlozi said an efficient system would have prevented the failing grade elevens from being put through to matric, adding that the Department remains a “negligent” entity.

In a strongly worded reaction, Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson Dennis Bloem accused Motshekga of being more worried “about remaining in the good books of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)” than the state of education.

“It is quite clear that the present education policy of the ruling party is taking the country nowhere. Joblessness abounds and poverty, inequality and unemployment remain bigger challenges than ever,” Bloem said.

“The ruling party must not pat itself on the back. It is performing below par. The Minister has certainly not raised the bar. Something significant will need to be done to produce quality education and end the charade of dressing up the matric results to try and fool the nation when in fact no one is fooled”.



PROVINCE 2014 2015
Eastern Cape 65.4% 56.8%
Free State 82.8% 81.6%
Gauteng 84.7% 84.2%
KwaZulu-Natal 69.7% 60.7%
Limpopo 72.9% 65.9%
Mpumalanga 79.0% 78.6%
Northern Cape 76.4% 69.4%
North West 84.6% 81.5%
Western Cape 82.2% 84.7%