There were scenes of jubilation around the country on Wednesday evening when Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga announced in Pretoria that the 2011 matric pass rate had increased to 70.2%.
The announcement ended months of anticipation for 496 090 full-time candidates who sat for National Senior Certificate exams in 2011.
Making the announcement live on television, Minister Motshekga said that she was pleased to announce the national pass rate of 70.2% for the class of 2011, an increase of 2.4% on the 67.8% achieved by the class of 2010.
“To the class of 2011, I want to say that you are great role models whose larger-than-life endeavours should challenge you to aim high,” said Minister Motshekga. “I wish to thank all education MECs, provincial officials and the team at national office for their dedication and sterling work.”
The percentage of candidates who qualified for Bachelor’s studies increased to 24.3%, up from 20.1% in 2008. A total of 104 033 candidates passed Mathematics while 96 441 candidates achieved a pass in Physical Science. The pass rate for Mathematics is 46.3% in 2011, a decline from 47.4% in 2010. In Mathematical Literacy 236 548 learners passed Mathematical Literacy, compared to 241 576 in 2010.
Minister Motshekga welcomed the improved performance in Physical Science – given the subjects priority status – but expressed concern about candidate performance in Mathematics.
“We have a strategy in place which we will vigorously implement in 2012 to improve the pass rate and the quality of Mathematics and Physical Science – The National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education,” announced the Minister.
“Our focus will be on four areas: (1) improving the participation and performance of girl learners; (2) helping schools to improve learners’ subject choices; (3) ensuring correct placement of teachers; and (4) focusing teacher development efforts on subject and pedagogical content knowledge.”
· The Western Cape has registered the highest pass rate, at 82.9%, up from 76.8% in 2009, an improvement of 6.1%.
· Gauteng achieved 81.1%, up from 78.6% in 2010 and an improvement of 2.5%.
· North West achieved 77.8%, up from 75.7%, an improvement of 2.1%.
· Northern Cape achieved 68.8%, down from 72.3% in 2010, a decline of 3.5%.
· Free State achieved 75.7%, up from 70.7%, an improvement of 5.0%.%.
· KwaZulu-Natal achieved 68.1%, down from 70.7% in 2010, and a decline of 2.6%.
· Mpumalanga reached 64.8%, up from 56.8% representing the largest improvement by a province.
· Limpopo achieved 63.9%, up from 57.9% and an improvement of 6.0%.
· The Eastern Cape achieved 58.1%, down from 58.3% in 2010, and a decline of 0.2%.
The Minister took the opportunity to announce that the National Department would send teams out to the 16 poorest performing districts to get to the bottom of their performance in the exams and put in place interventions to ensure a turnaround.
“All thanks to the different teacher unions, parents, students and QLTC for working tirelessly to ensure quality learning and teaching in our schools. It would be remiss of me not to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all the people and organisations who have supported education in one way or another,’ concluded Minister Motshekga.