Slight drop in IEB results as 98.07% candidates pass amid pandemic

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Serema Tshesane. Picture: Supplied
Serema Tshesane. Picture: Supplied


The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) has registered a slight decrease in matric passes – from 98.82% in 2019 to 98.07% last year.

But those who run the IEB, which administers matric exams in private schools, say this is something to celebrate considering the impact of Covid-19 on schooling last year.

In a statement on Friday morning, the IEB said while it was not immediately clear in the numbers, the impact of the pandemic on schooling saw several candidates withdrawing or postponing writing Grade 12 exams until this year.

It shows that the hard work paid off
Serema Tshesane

Serema Tshesane was among the top performers at St Benedict’s College in Germiston having achieved an average of 84.7%.

“I’m very excited about the results that I achieved today. It shows that the hard work paid off,” Tshesane said.

Another top achiever Akhil Govan scored an 88.4% average – eight distinctions – and is among the top 1% nationally in mathematics; Jacques Theron, Ricardo Coelho and Gordon Grossett all bagged eight distinctions each with averages of 89%, 87.4% and 86.1%, respectively.

David Jeffrey, the college’s headmaster, said this was a solid set of results and the culmination of years of hard work.

“As if prophetic, ‘Young man I say to you arise’ was our school’s theme last year, and this is exactly what was asked of this group of matriculants. In our school’s history, no other group of pupils has completed their high school career during a pandemic.

“There were no signposts to success and at times the challenges to be overcome felt insurmountable. But the class of 2020 showed incredible determination and their resilience is reflected in the marks they have produced.

READ: Schools ready, health and safety of learners, staff top priority, says Motshekga

“Their dedication to get to this point will serve as an example for generations to come. We could not be more proud of how they persevered and answered the call to rise up. Now, we encourage them to take on the world and go and do the great things they are called to do,” Jeffrey said.

St Benedict’s College achieved a 100% pass rate. It announced that two of its boys achieved averages more than 90% and eight pupils were among the country’s highest achievers in various subjects.

St David’s Marist Inanda also achieved 100% pass rate.

The school, located in Sandton, announced that its candidates scored 97% bachelor passes.

In a statement the school said: “Our top achievers this year attained exceptional results, with four boys achieving eight distinctions [each], two boys each achieving seven distinctions, two boys achieving six distinctions, 11 boys achieving five distinctions and six boys achieving four distinctions. Our two top achievers attained a 94% and 92% average respectively, with both achieving 99% for mathematics,” the statement read.

St John’s College in Johannesburg also had a lot to celebrate. Beside 98% of the class achieving bachelor’s degree passes and the 126 boys achieving 357 distinctions between them, the school said several pupils were also placed in the top 5% of IEB matrics nationally.

These included Andi Qu, who has made the IEB Outstanding Achievements list, being placed in the top 5% of candidates nationally in six or more subjects, Gustav Kruger, Kei Prior, Cameron Quiding and Taylor Williamson, who feature on the IEB Commendable Achievements list, each being placed in the top 5% of candidates nationally in five subjects.

Andi Qu
Andi Qu. Picture: Supplied

St John’s executive headmaster Stuart West said this was a result of dedication, application and hard work from the candidates, and the support and commitment of the teaching staff.

“We congratulate all matriculants in South Africa, and wish the young people of the class of 2020 all the best for the future, wherever it may take them.” West said.

A total of 12 024 full-time and 1 139 part-time candidates last year registered at 233 IEB examination centres across South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer said the excellent performance under very difficult circumstances underscored the importance of the years of good, solid teaching and learning prior to Grade 12.

“These achievements are proof that the Grade 12 year on its own does not provide the understanding, perseverance and resilience needed to achieve excellent results in the matric year – but that is the culmination of work and learning over 12 or 13 years of quality schooling,” Oberholzer said.

On Monday, the department of basic education is set to release the national senior certificate results for public schools.


Msindisi Fengu 


+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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