The 2020 matric class achieved a pass rate of 76.2% while the 2019 class scored 81.3%.
Stakeholders had foreseen the drop, but hoped it would not be monumental.
In the event, it was not. But we now have to look forward to the class of 2021, which consists of Grade 11 learners whose studies were disrupted by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic last year.
They were only allowed to attend class on certain days and the syllabus was curtailed, but a plan was devised to mend the gaps.
How this will affect them this year is unknown. But a lot of hard work will clearly be needed to reach the 2019 standard. Let’s hope that all the necessities and support systems will be provided for the class of 2021.
There should no longer be complications or issues about the shortage of masks, teachers, water, sanitation and classrooms because lessons should have been learnt in 2020.
With that being said, the class of 2020, which had the largest cohort of candidates, has shown that it is possible to triumph in times of adversity. This should inspire the class of 2021.
Of course, none of this would be possible without support from their teachers, parents and guardians.
The uncertainty that prevailed throughout 2020 should be something of the past in 2021.
However, the ravages of Covid-19 can be dire and unpredictable and the vaccination process is one of the efforts under way to mitigate the pandemic’s impact. That should offer a ray of hope.
Education authorities, under the leadership of basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli and Minister Angie Motshekga, did their best under the circumstances.
Let’s hope that in 2021 they will not drop the ball and will attend to the needs of pupils, teachers and support staff in schools.