Free State leads the pack with 85.7% pass rate

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Free State has recorded the highest number of learners who passed their 2021 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams, while Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal produced more candidates who are eligible to apply for a Bachelor's degree programme at universities.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, revealed this during the much-awaited 2021 matric results announcement on Thursday evening.  

The 2021 NSC examination results show that only one province achieved lower than the 70% pass rate, while five performed above 70%, and three attained above 80%.

While COVID-19 may have impacted the academic programme, the Class of 2021 managed to bag an overall pass rate of 76.4% – an increase of 0.2 percentage points compared to the 2020 matric pass rate of 76.2%.

The Free State clinched the number one spot for three years in a row after 85.7% of learners passed in the province – an improvement of 0.6% from 2020.

The province is followed by Gauteng with 82.8%, Western Cape 81.2%, North West 78.2%, KwaZulu-Natal 76.8%, Mpumalanga 73.6%, Eastern Cape 73% and Northern Cape 71.4%.

Limpopo is the only province that obtained less than 70%, with the pass rate sitting at 66.7%.   

This information is based on the 897 163 candidates – an increase of 23.6% from 2020 – who sat for their exams last year. This is the largest cohort in history.

Motshekga announced that Gauteng’s Tshwane South is the leading district in terms of the number of passes, obtaining 89.3%.

The second spot went to Motheo in the Free State, with an 87.9% pass rate, followed by Fezile Dabi in the Free State with 87.5%, Johannesburg West in Gauteng with 86.5%, while Ekurhuleni South in Gauteng and Metro-North in the Western Cape with 86.2% are tied in fifth place.

“It is important to observe that among the 75 education districts in our country, 10 districts are in three provinces, four each in the Free State and Gauteng, and two from the Western Cape,” Motshekga said, adding that the top 10 districts performed above 84%.

Meanwhile, the Minister praised the most rural provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, for producing a combined 121 312 or 47.4% Bachelor passes – an improvement of 26.6% from 2020.

These three provinces also managed to accomplish 103 812 or 49% distinctions – up by 43.3% from 2020 and 88 072 or 49.6% Diploma passes from 23.1% in 2020.

“This kind of consistent and improved performance by our three most rural provinces clearly illustrates our resolve to provide what Professors Joseph Farrell and Ernesto Schiefelbein term in their longitudinal study of young people in Chile ‘equality and equity of access, as well as the equality and equity of outcomes for all learners, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds (sic),” she said. 

Meanwhile, the no-fee schools, which had a combined 354 476 Grade 12s, achieved 149 648 Bachelor passes – a rise of 29.5% from 2020.

“The significance of this is that the gap between the Bachelor passes produced by no-fee schools versus those produced by fee-paying schools have significantly and progressively increased from 2% in 2015 to 16% in 2020 and 24% in 2021,” she said.

“This is remarkable; hence, His Excellency President Ramaphosa, calls it a ‘silent revolution’.”

The top district level performances in all nine provinces:

● Eastern Cape - Buffalo City with 79% and ranked 32nd nationally. 

● Free State – Motheo with 87.9% and ranked second nationally. 

● Gauteng – Tshwane South with 89.3% and ranked first nationally.

● KwaZulu-Natal – Ugu with 80.4% and ranked 23rd nationally.

 ● Limpopo – Capricorn South with 73.8% and ranked 51st nationally. 

● Mpumalanga – Ehlanzeni with 75.6% and ranked 43rd nationally.

● North West - Bojanala Platinum with 81.6% and ranked 18th nationally. 

● Northern Cape – Namaqua with 81.2% and ranked 20th nationally.

● Western Cape – Metro-North with 86.2% and ranked fifth nationally.  


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