The KwaZulu-Natal education department fell short of the 100% pass rate demanded by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini in honour of his 70th birthday celebration. Instead‚ the province achieved a 76.2% overall matric pass rate for 2018.

Last year’s pass rate was a 3.3 percentage point increase from 2017 — but provincial education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana was very pleased with the outcome‚ although he has promised that the department will work hard to improve the results this year.

A total of 116‚152 full-time candidates and 13‚103 adult basic education and training candidates wrote their final matric exams last year — the highest number from any other province in the country.

“We’re happy to announce that for the third time in a row we have successfully increased the provincial pass rate. Our overall pass percentage for 2018 stands at 76.2% which is a 3.3 percentage point increase from the results of 2017‚” said Dlungwana during the release of the 2018 national senior certificate results at Durban’s International Convention Centre on Friday.

A beaming Dlungwana told the packed venue that 38‚573 learners had achieved bachelor passes in the province‚ which translated to 33.2% of the total number of full-time candidates for 2018. This was significantly higher than the 28.7% who achieved the same feat in 2017.

Amajuba district reclaimed its top position in KwaZulu-Natal by achieving an impressive 81.7%‚ followed by Ugu with 79.6%‚ Umkhanyakude 78.1%‚ Umgungundlovu 77.5%‚ Pinetown 77.4%‚ Umlazi 76‚76%‚ Uthukela 76.13%‚ King Cetshwayo 73.9%‚ Zululand 73.8%‚ Umzinyathi 73.1%‚ Harry Gwala 71‚9% and Ilembe 71.1%.

Eleven districts improved their pass rate in 2018 and five achieved their highest percentage increase. These were Zululand which increased its percentage by 8.97%‚ Umzinyathi by 8.09%‚ Ugu by 6.56%‚ Ilembe by 6.19% and Harry Gwala by 5.09%.

Ironically‚ Dlungwana’s home district Umgungundlovu was the only one that regressed and declined by 4.01 percentage point. He was not pleased‚ and joked that he would have to visit the district director.

Dlungwana said the province had also showed a steady increase in the percentage pass rate in maths and physical science over the past three years.

In maths the province obtained 37.91% in 2016; 41.59% in 2017 and 50.6% in 2018. In physical science it obtained 57.76% in 2016; 65.11% in 2017 and a remarkable 73.6% in 2018.

The number of schools which achieved a 100% pass rate was also increasing every year‚ said Dlungwana.

In 2016‚ 85 schools achieved a 100% pass rate‚ 109 in 2017 and 121 in 2018‚ with 32 in the Quintile 1 category and three special schools.

“In the same vein our Quintile 1 schools are doing very well in spite of the challenges they are faced with. In 2018‚ these schools achieved a 71% pass rate.

“The 2018 performance shows that as a province‚ we have necessary systems in place which we will continue to strengthen.

“As we keep saying‚ we are indeed on the right track. With this strong foundation‚ we are aiming at nothing below an 80% pass rate this year‚” said Dlungwana.

Zwelithini‚ who plays the role of patron of education in the province and who also attended the release of the results‚ demanded a 100% pass of his lavish 70th celebrations which took place at his Enyokeni and Linduzulu palaces in Nongoma in July last year.

TMG Digital