On Tuesday, the minister announced that the 2015 matric pass rate is 70.7 per cent, down from 75.8 per cent achieved in 2014. if the "progressed learners" had not been added to the total, the pass rate would have been 74%. These were pupils who failed Grade 11 twice and were promoted to Grade 12 without meeting the passing criteria.
Minister Mothekga said although this is a decline from last year, the class of 2015 was the largest cohort in the history of basic education in the country.
Minister Motshekga said a total number of candidates who registered for the November 2015 NSC examinations was 799 306, comprising 667 925 full time candidates and 131 381 part time candidates.
“This is 110 thousand candidates more than those enrolled for the 2014 NSC examinations."
The 70.7% pass rate represents 455 825 candidates who have passed the 2015 NSC Examinations, the largest in history.
“This represents an increase of 51 952 candidates from those who passed in 2014. The national pass rate without progressed learners would have been 74.1%. Well done to the Class of 2015,” said Minister Motshekga.
Increase in Bachelor passes
The minister also said there was an increase in the number of learners qualifying for admission to Bachelor degrees from 150 737 in 2014 to 166 263 in 2015.
The performance in Mathematics and Physical Science, which are gateway subjects, has also shown an increase in the number of passes, although the pass percentage in these subjects has decreased.
The number of learners passing Mathematics has increased from 120 523 in 2014 to 129 481 in 2015; while the number of learners passing Physical Science has increased from 103 348 in 2014 to 113 121 in 2015.
“In 2015 there were 3 711 more distinctions achieved by learners than in 2014. In 2014, 157 913 distinctions were achieved, whereas in 2015 161 624 distinctions were achieved.
“In the 12 key subjects (including Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, among others) the total number of distinctions increased from 59 981 in 2014 to 63 348 in 2015,” said Minister Motshekga.
Western Cap top achiever
Western Cape became the overall top achiever with a pass rate of 84.7 percent, up from 82.2% in 2014, showing an improvement of 2.5%. Western Cape had 53 721 candidates in total, out of which 22 739 are Bachelor passes.
The province was followed by Gauteng with 84.2 percent.
“We need to congratulate Gauteng for producing the largest number of Bachelor passes at 38 760. Gauteng had 108 442 candidates in total. Well done to MEC Lesufi and his team,” said the Minister.
The third on the list was Free State with 81.6 percent.
Minister Motshekga said the department must pay particular attention to KZN, Limpopo and Eastern Cape if it wants to improve the overall NSC national picture.
“If we don’t do this, our basic education outputs and outcomes may not improve to the extent necessary,” said the Minister.
Minister Motshekga said one of the key areas in the year 2015 was to encourage provinces to progress or condone learners who have repeated Grade 11 more than once, and these are referred to as progressed learners, who are over-aged and give them extra support to sit for Grade 12 NSC examinations.
This to also allow them to "modularise" their examinations, meaning that they write part of the examinations in November 2015, and the rest in June 2016.
“Consequently, in 2015 we saw the largest number progressed learners since the policy was promulgated in 2013.
“An analysis of the raw data on progressed learners paints an extremely interesting picture, in particular this year. For the Class of 2015, we had 65 671 progressed learners, which was 9.8% of the total number of full-time candidates registered for the 201 NSC examinations,” said the Minister.
She said of these progressed learners that wrote the examinations, 22 060 passed the 2015 NSC examinations, which represents 37.6 % of all progressed learners.
She also said some 3 297 progressed learners obtained Bachelor passes, meaning these would-be-high-school dropouts now have the opportunity to go to University. 8 473 of them obtained Diploma passes, and some 10 264 obtained Higher Certificate passes.
“There are a total of 1 081 distinctions attained by progressed learners, and these range from a total of 40 in Mathematics, to 30 in Physical Science, and 31 in Accounting. These are the often difficult gateway subjects,” she said.
This year they were about 65 000 progressed learners.
Second Chance Matric Programme
To those who did not succeed, the Minister had a special plea: “This is not the end of the world. We have a special intervention to assist all of you.
“The Second Chance Matric Programme is intended to provide support to learners who have not been able to meet the requirements of the National Senior Certificate by increasing learner retention."
The categories of learners who will be covered are those learners who qualify to write Supplementary Examinations for a maximum of two subjects, progressed learners who pursue multiple opportunities to complete the NSC, and learners who failed to meet the requirements of the NSC in 2015. We will officially unveil the full details of this programme tomorrow,” said the Minister
Meanwhile, exam regulator Umalusi has declared the 2015 NSC exams as free, fair and credible. It commended the department for implementing a world class curriculum and reducing irregularities.