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Basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that the matric class of 2021 achieved a 76.4% pass, January 20 2022. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that the matric class of 2021 achieved a 76.4% pass, January 20 2022. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The matric class of 2021 achieved a 76.4% pass rate, up from 76.2% the year before. 

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga released the results at an event on Thursday night.

The Free State was the best-performing province, at 85.7% (up 0.6 percentage points from 2020), while Limpopo was the worst-performing at 66.7% (a decline of 1.5 percentage points from the year before).

Motshekga said that the number of candidates qualifying for admission to bachelor studies at universities was 256,031 — up four percentage points from 2020.

“This represents 36.4% of the total number of candidates who wrote the 2021 National Senior Certificate exams. We must state that KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng contributed the most bachelor passes,” said Motshekga.

The class of 2021 was the second to write in often-challenging Covid-19 conditions, something which Motshekga alluded to during her address. She said the class of 2021 was the most affected by the virus, “because they had to ensure two consecutive years of harsh exposure to the unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic”.

Earlier, during a technical briefing ahead of the results, director-general of basic education Mathanzima Mweli said that, for the first time in SA’s history, 61.8% of bachelor passes in last year’s matric exams came from SA’s poorest schools — the quintile 1-3 schools.

“It means that children of people in rural areas, townships and informal settlements have now increased the output to 61.8%. It’s never happened in the system in history. I am actually shaking,” he said.

In contrast, in 2005 at least 20% of quintile 4 and 5 schools — the so-called wealthy schools — accounted for 80% of the bachelor passes.

The percentage of bachelor passes produced by quintile 4 and 5 schools went down from 42% in 2020 to 38.2% in 2021.

Western Cape pupils produced the most bachelor passes, followed by Gauteng and then the Free State.

The number of distinctions produced nationally dropped slightly from 4.3% to 4.2% with a decline in the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the North West and the Northern Cape.

Mweli said the number of pupils passing accounting, economics, geography, history and maths literacy, at 30%, had dropped.

This is a developing story.

TimesLIVE

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