IN NUMBERS | Matric 2020: National pass rate drops to 76.2%

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DBE Minister Angie Motshekga announces the 2021 Matric results.
DBE Minister Angie Motshekga announces the 2021 Matric results.
  • The Department of Basic Education has announced the 2020 matric results.  
  • Free State has the highest number of matric pupils who passed, for a second year in a row, followed by Gauteng, the Western Cape and KZN. 
  • The national pass rate for the 2020 NSC results was 76.2%.  

The Free State has the highest percentage of matric pupils who passed their 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations - for the second year in a row.

This according to the official NSC results released by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday.

The national pass rate for the 2020 NSC was 76.2% - a 5.1 percentage point decrease from the previous year. 

The minister said she was expecting a "bloodbath", however, she was "grateful" the class of 2020 managed a 76.2% pass rate. 

She commended the teachers and the class of 2020, saying they "held their own".

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The Free State had the highest pass rate at 85.1% - a decline of 3.2% compared to the previous year, followed by Gauteng at 83.3%, the Western Cape at 79.9% and KwaZulu-Natal at 77.6%. 


The North West pass rate was at 76.2%, Mpumalanga obtained 73.7%, Limpopo at 68.2%, Eastern Cape at 68.1% and the Northern Cape obtained 66%.

Motshekga said the total number of pupils who wrote were 725 034 and of those, 607 226 were full-time candidates.

She added 76.7% boys passed the 2020 NSC exams as opposed to 75.8% of the girls. 

However, more girls than boys achieved Bachelor's and Diploma passes, as well as passes with distinctions, Motshekga said.

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"These distinctions include passes with distinction in critical subjects such as accounting, business studies, economics, mathematics, and physical science."

She added the number of pupils qualifying for admission to Bachelor studies was 210 820, which was an improvement of 13.3 percentage points from the previous year. 

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Motshekga said Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal accounted for almost half of the bachelor's in the country. 

The number of pupils, who passed with a Diploma, was 150 600 - an increase of 4.1 percentage points from 2019, she added.  

The number of pupils, who passed with Higher Certificates was 79 117, which is an improvement of 0.2 percentage points from 2019.

Meanwhile the number of pupils of that group, who passed with an NSC was 61. 

She added: 
The high quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2020.

"We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate.

"We are indeed proud of the Class of 2020, which persevered against such monumental challenges that our system was never exposed to in the past."  

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