Picture: THE TIMES
Picture: THE TIMES

The matric class of 2017 has achieved a pass rate of 75.1%‚ up from 72.5% in 2016, but which is down from a peak of 78.2% in 2013.

The figure reflects the achievement of the 401‚435 matriculants who passed their National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams‚ Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Thursday evening, speaking at the SABC headquarters in a live broadcast at Auckland Park‚ Johannesburg.

A total of 497 schools achieved a 100% pass rate‚ 7.3% of all schools — down from 8% in 2016. The majority of the schools with a perfect pass rate were in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

To obtain an NSC‚ a candidate must achieve at least 40% in three subjects‚ one of which is an official language at home language level‚ and 30% in three other subjects. A failure of a home language means the matriculant fails.

Just more than 28% of pupils achieved a pass that will allow them to go to university.

The top achieving province is the Free State‚ recording a pass rate of 86% — down from 88.2% in 2016 when it was also the top performing province. In second place is Gauteng‚ which achieved 85.1%‚ the same pass rate as in 2016.

In third place is the Western Cape which achieved 82.7%‚ down from 85.9% in 2016 and dropping from second place last year. Eastern Cape achieved 65%‚ improving from 59.3% in 2016 — the second largest improvement in the country. Limpopo achieved 65.6%‚ up from 62.5% in 2016.

Four provinces achieved a pass rate above 70%: KwaZulu-Natal with 72.8%‚ up from 66.4% in 2016 — the largest improvement in the country; Mpumalanga with 74.8%‚ down from 77.1%; Northern Cape with 75.6%‚ down from 78.7%; and North West with 79.4%‚ down from 82.5%

The number of pupils who qualified for admission to university with a bachelor’s pass is 153‚610; the number who achieved a diploma pass for college is 161‚133; and 86‚265 obtained higher certificates (a basic pass), which allows admission to a Technical and Vocational and Training college.

Of about 6,000 schools, 115 have recorded a 100% pass for five years

There are 208‚000 places for matriculants at universities so those who qualified with a bachelor’s pass can, statistically, be accommodated. Ninety-nine pupils got an endorsed pass for special-needs pupils‚ where five subjects need to be passed at 30%.

The top performing districts are, in order, Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 90.2%; second is Thabo Mofutsanyana in the Free State with 90%; third is Tshwane South in Gauteng with 89.8%; fourth is Ekurhuleni North in Gauteng with 89.1%; fifth is Tshwane North in Gauteng with 88.9%; tied at sixth place are Gauteng West and Johannesburg West in Gauteng with 88.6%; eighth is Sedibeng East in Gauteng with 87.9%; ninth is Johannesburg East in Gauteng with 87.8%; and 10th is Overberg in the Western Cape with 87.7%.

In 2017, nine schools out of 6‚814 had no matric pupils who passed, with most being quintile 1 and 2 schools‚ the poorest that don’t pay fees. This is an improvement from the 18 schools that achieved no passes in 2016.

This was announced by the director-general of the Department of Basic Education Hubert Mathanzima Mweli‚ at a technical briefing at Auckland Park in Johannesburg‚ hours before the release of the matric results.

Of about 6,000 schools, 115 have recorded a 100% pass for five years; 35 are in Gauteng with another 32 in the Western Cape.

Mweli said the subjects with the greatest drops in the percentage of pupils who passed were accounting‚ agriculture, and business studies. He also gave a glimpse into the sheer number that go in to the matric exams: 44,911 markers; 140 marking centres; 7.4-million question papers; 6‚826 examination centres; 132 different exams; and 65‚000 invigilators.