Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has announced the pass rate for the matric class of 2020.

The national matric pass rate for the class of 2020 is 76.2% – down by 5.1 percentage points from 2019’s matric pass rate of 81.3%.

A total of 607,226 candidates enrolled to write the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination, and 578,468 of these students sat and wrote the exams.

440,702 candidates attained the National Senior Certificate (NSC), an increase of 30,796 from 2019, and 24,762 more candidates attained admission to Bachelor Studies compared to 2019.

“Despite the fact that we had a drop, I am very grateful for all the South Africans that helped us, because, in essence, I was expecting a bloodbath,” the minister said.

The minister added that 36.4% of matric students achieved a bachelor’s pass and 26% achieved a diploma pass.

A further 13.7% achieved a higher certificate pass.

The matric examinations started on 5 November 2020 and the final papers were written on 15 December 2020.

The later start, the Basic Education Department said, allowed schools and learners adequate time to cover the curriculum.

Provincial matric pass rates

The matric pass rates for South Africa’s provinces were also detailed by Motshekga. They are as follows:

  • Free State – 85.1%
  • Gauteng – 83.8%
  • Western Cape – 79.9%
  • KwaZulu-Natal – 77.6%
  • North West – 76.2%
  • Mpumalanga – 73.7%
  • Limpopo – 68.2%
  • Eastern Cape – 68.1%
  • Northern Cape – 66.0%

Motshekga said that the national provincial pass rates are partially skewed as they included progressed learners who would not typically have written matric exams in a traditional school year.

Despite the drop in the overall pass rate, the minister noted that the average pass mark and the number of bachelors passes had improved compared with last year’s figures.

She said this performance was impressive in the face of the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

Matric pass rate – 2008 vs 2020

The graph below shows the matric pass rate for every year from 2008 until 2020.

Matric Pass rate 2021