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Eastern Cape matric pass rate slightly improves, but sees it remain worst performer in 2016

Jan 4, 2017
Eastern Cape matric pass rate slightly improves, but sees it remain worst performer in 2016

Another dismal performance. According to the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Results that were announced by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, on Wednesday evening in Midrand, near Johannesburg, the Eastern Cape slightly improved its matric pass rate - but that was not enough to move it from its position at the bottom of the class. 

The province has recorded the worst Matric pass rate for the past five years.

In 2016, only seven schools attained a 100%

According to Minister Motshekga, the Eastern Cape improved the 2016 Matric pass rate by 2.5% to 59.3% up from 56.8% in 2015 (when including progressed learners). Excluding progressed learners, the province attained a 63.3% matric pass rate. Progressed learners are those, who were allowed to get into Grade 12 even after not passing Grade 11. 

The number of progressed learners in the Eastern Cape rose to 14 289 in 2016 from 12 304 in 2015.

While 92 755 Eastern Cape learners entered the year as Matrics, only 82 902 wrote the 2016 Matric exams – 9 853 were either absent or could not complete the year.

She said that there were five education districts that performed below 50% in the country - all of them are in the Eastern Cape. They are Ngcobo where 2 837 students sat for the exams but 1 338 (or 47.2%) passed; in Lusikisiki, 4 202 learners sat for the exams but only 1 878 (44.7%) passed; in Libode 7 222 students wrote the matric exams and 3 465 (47.9%) passed; in Lady Frere, 1 633 learners sat for the exams and 809 (49.5%) passed; while 5 156 students wrote exams in Idutywa and 2 553 (49.5%) passed.

The Top Performing education district in the Eastern Cape for 2016 is Cradock at 81.2%.

The Graff Reinet education district got special mention by the Minister for performing well in Physical Science in the Eastern Cape - showing the contrast in the province, she said.

In 2015, the province attained a pass rate of 56.8 % a drop from the 2014 results.

But, despite a slight improvement in the Eastern Cape's 2014 matric pass rate (at 65.4% from 64.9% in 2013), it again emerged as the worst performing province - three schools actually recorded a zero percent pass. 

The province has recorded the worst Matric pass rate for the past five years.

While in 2012, no school in the Eastern Cape recorded a zero percent pass rate, in 2013, two schools got a zero percent pass rate. In the same vein, the percentage of schools, which received a 100% pass rate decreased from 4.8 in 2013 to 4.1 in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Department of Education is still battling with infrastructure backlogs and is still to complete a project meant to eradicate mud schools that are still dotted around the province.

Still, underspending on its projects - it under-spent its infrastructure budget by 33%, meant that the department forfeited more than half a billion Rand to National Treasury.

Last year, in July, the Eastern Cape Department of Education met the first deadline set by the Mthatha High Court in January 2016 in the ongoing school furniture litigation that was brought by the Centre for Child Law, represented by the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown


Nationally, the national senior certificate pass rate has increased to 76.2% without progressed learners. 674 652 full time candidates registered for the2016 Matric exams and 610 178 wrote it.

The Department is pledged to ensure that those, who did write do so to prevent them from falling off the system completely.

When including progressed pupils, that figure is 72.5%. According to Minister Motshekga, the number of progressed learners in 2016 was 108 742, from 65 673 in 2015, which is a 65% increase.

67 510 progressed learners wrote the requisite seven subjects during the 2016 NSC examinations. Of the progressed learners, who wrote the 2016 NSC examinations, 29 384 passed the 2015 NSC Examinations. This represents 27% of all progressed learners, and 6.6% of all learners who passed the 2016 NSC examinations.

2016 saw the largest number progressed learners since the policy was promulgated in 2013.

The minister said that 2016 class biggest in South Africa’s history after 1994, and the Class of 2016 has recorded highest number of NSC candidates in the history of the education system. 

The Free State dethroned the Western Cape as the top performing province of 2016 with a pass rate of 88.2%‚ up from 81.6% in 2015.

The Western Cape was second place with 85.9% (up from 84.7% in 2015);  Gauteng came third with 85.1% (up from 84.2% in 2015); the North West in fourth at 82.5% (up from 81.5%); the Northern Cape in fifth at 78.7% (up from 69.4%); Mpumalanga in sixth achieved 77.1% (down from 78.6%); while KwaZulu-Natal achieved 66.4% (up from 60.7%); and Limpopo achieved 62.5% (down from 65.9%). From above, the Eastern Cape came in last again.

Ultimately, the number of pupils who qualified for admission to Bachelor studies in 2017 stood at 162 374‚ while those that gained entrance into a Diploma is 179 619 and 100 486 obtained Higher Certificates.

Maths remained a challenge for learners as only 33 511 learners achieved a mark of 60% or more in 2016. Actually, only 8 070 (about 3%) learners got distinctions for maths and only 1.25% (or 4 364) of the 361 865, who wrote Maths literacy -the simpler version, got a distinction.

However, Minister Motshekga said most of the improvement has been amongst black African learners who are passing maths with 60% or more.

Only 3.7% (or 7 043) of the pupils, who wrote Science‚ received a distinction.

While 128 853 learners wrote accounting, 6 576 (or 5.1%) attained a distinction.

In the languages, learners struggled with English - only 1.2% or 6 644 students achieved a distinction, while 7.4% of those, who Afrikaans first language (about 6 167 pupils) attained a distinction.

The Department said the Class of 2016 can access their results in various newspapers on Thursday, using only Exam Numbers.