The 76% matric pass rate might be a better result than the carnage that was expected after a year of pandemic lockdown and disruptions. But a closer look at the results shows that more than 50% of the potential class of 2020 — the pupils who were enrolled in grade 2 in 2010 — either repeated a grade (or several), or dropped out of the education system before reaching matric.

And according to education activist organisation Equal Education (EE), the department of basic education’s own calculations show that even taking into account people who complete matric after leaving school, the proportion who attain it remains around 50%...

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