Matric pass rate improves to 75.1%

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC) overall pass rate is 75.1%, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced on Thursday evening.

“For the past seven years, we have noted that the NSC pass rate has consistently been above the 70% threshold. The Class of 2017 must be commended for maintaining this trend. 

“The 2017 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners excluded, stands at 76.5%, a 0.3% improvement from the 76.2% achieved in 2016. However, with the progressed learners included, the overall pass rate, stands at 75.1%, a 2.6% improvement from the 72.5% achieved in 2016. 

“This represents a total of 401 435 candidates who had passed the 2017 NSC examinations.  Well done to the Class of 2017!” said the Minister, during a live broadcast on SABC.

The Class of 2017 is the 10th cohort of learners to sit for the National Senior Certificate, and the fourth cohort to write Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS)-aligned NSC examinations. 

According to the Minister, the 2017 matric class recorded the third highest enrolment of Grade 12 learners in the history of the basic education system in South Africa.

The total number of candidates, who registered for the November 2017 NSC examinations, was 802 431; comprising 629 155 full-time candidates, and 173 276 part-time candidates. Of these candidates, 534 484 full-time candidates, and 117 223 part-time candidates, wrote the 2017 NSC examinations.

A total of 153 610 candidates achieved Bachelor passes (equivalent to 28.7%); 161 333 passed with a Diploma (equivalent to 30.2%); 86 265 passed with Higher Certificates (equivalent to 16.1%) and 99 passed with a National Senior Certificate.

A total of 314 943 candidates (equivalent to 78.5%), who achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, are eligible to register for studies at higher education institutions. The 86 364 candidates (equivalent to 21.5%), who obtained certificate passes, may register at TVET colleges and other skills training institutions. 

Minister Motshekga encouraged the 133 049 candidates who did not make it to register for the department’s Second Chance programme.

In 2017, a total of 161 081 distinctions were achieved, an improvement of 1.8% from 2016. 

The main contributors for this are KwaZulu-Natal with 28%; Gauteng with 22.4%; Western Cape with 15.5%; Limpopo with 9.5%; and Eastern Cape with 9%.

“It is remarkable to note that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo produced a combined 46.5% of the total distinctions achieved nationally,” she said.

In the 12 key subjects – which include Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science, among others - the total number of distinctions stands at 62 154, a decline of 4.6% from 2016. 

In the gateway subjects a total of 5 040 distinctions were achieved in Accounting; 6 726 distinctions were achieved in Mathematics; and 7 861 distinctions were achieved in Physical Science.

Minister Motshekga conceded that despite the stability of and improvements in the system, there was room for improvement.

“Once again, I take off my hat to the Class of 2017, and I wish them the best in their future.  I believe that you will continue to shine wherever you are.” 

She thanked the principals, teachers, and parents for the work they continue to do to support learners.

Candidates' individual results will be made available on 5 January 2018 at the school or centre where they wrote their exams. Their partial results will be made available on the department’s website. –

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