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Cape Town – The Western Cape has just missed an 80% pass rate for the matric results of the National Senior Certificate (NSC), making it the first time this feat has not been accomplished by the province since 2010. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday that the national NSC pass rate is 76.2 percent-a 5.1 percent decrease from the record pass of 81.3 percent attained by the 2019 class.

On November 5, the Class of 2020 sat for their NSC exams and concluded their exams on December 17, following two rewrites of paper 2 on mathematics and paper 2 on physical sciences after they were leaked. Notwithstanding these leaks, Umalusi, the Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training, was still pleased with the NSC examinations.

The Western Cape came in the third position with the pass rate of 79.9%, a decline of 2.4% from 2019. It trailed the Free State with a pass of 85.1 per cent and Gauteng with a pass of 83.8 per cent. All the provinces witnessed a decrease in the pass rate from the matric outcomes of last year. The 79.9 percent NSC pass rate for the Western Cape means that the province has not reached an 80 percent pass rate for the first time since 2010.

A decrease of 5.1 percent is the average transfer rate, including advanced learners, at 76.2 percent. To all of South Africa, I am thankful. I anticipated a bloodbath. To all the teachers, I am thankful. We tried to strike back time with all our forces, but we can’t,’ Motshekga said. We have observed for the past 10 years that NSC pass rates have steadily risen from 60 percent in 2009 to over 70 percent in recent years. To continue this pattern, the Class of 2020 must be commended, she said.

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Debbie Schäfer, Western Cape MEC for Education, congratulated all learners who, under challenging conditions and in great uncertainty, achieved their matrics. Although all provinces have seen their pass rates fall, a comprehensible outcome during a pandemic that seriously disrupted education around the world, I am pleased to report that the least of any of the provinces has suffered from our pass rate. Although the “pass rate” has decreased, there are many things to celebrate. Despite the lockdown, the disturbance to the school calendar, and the confusion during the year, we have seen a further increase in the consistency of our matric passes.

The real effect of Covid-19 on the 2020 class with regard to the retention of learners in the framework has not been easy to assess in 2020. I was pleased to see that the impacts were not as bad as some have stated in the Western Cape, despite several negative predictions,” Schäfer said. We have always put great focus on ensuring that, for as long as possible, we retain as many students in the school system and that they have the ability to write and transfer their NSC. “I am extremely proud of the 2020 Class that chose to #CommitToFinish their matrics in these difficult circumstances.”

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