Matric results: Education MEC appears unfazed about Limpopo being worst-performing province

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Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo..
Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo..
Photo by Desmond Boshego
  • Limpopo obtained the lowest matric pass rate of the nine provinces, with 66.7%.
  • Education MEC Polly Boshielo says there should rather be a focus on pupil numbers, not percentages.
  • She adds the province has produced "more quality" candidates than some of the provinces and no school achieved a 0% pass rate.

Limpopo Education MEC Polly Boshielo believes the outbreak of Covid-19 two years ago largely contributed to the "under-performance" of the province in the 2021 matric results.

It obtained the lowest pass rate.

At the same time, Boshielo appeared unfazed about the province coming last, given the number of candidates who were enrolled compared to other provinces.

The province obtained a 66.7% pass rate - down from 68.2% in 2020.

Speaking to the media at a ceremony to announce the matric results, Boshielo said: "There is a problem with percentages. Maybe the next time they should talk about the numbers. We should compare apples with apples."

In her address, Boshielo found solace that the 2021 pass rate was better than 2017's 65,1% when teaching and learning conditions were relatively normal. 

She said she was proud the province did not produce any schools with a 0% pass rate in 2021, compared to the seven in 2020.

READ | Matric pass rate of 76.4% shows the system has improved, says education minister

"… we want to indicate that the Class of 2021 bore the greatest brunt of the Covid-19 impact in comparison to previous cohorts.

"In addition to any pre-existing learning deficits that may have existed prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the 2021 cohort suffered a double blow and had to deal with a harsh reality of Covid-19 for two consecutive years.

"This was in 2020 when they were in Grade 11 and again 2021 when doing Grade 12. This is a group that did not attend school due to Covid-19 restrictions…

"When they finally returned to school, they were subjected to rotational attendance, either on alternate days or weeks depending on the circumstances of the school."

Boshielo added the 2021 cohort not being exposed to formal and full-scale examinations in Grade 11 and the June common exams in Grade 12 also played a role in the dismal performance. 

The rural character of the province also limited a number of pupils from accessing virtual teaching and learning spaces in 2020 and 2021.

But she pointed out the province needed to be proud it had produced "more quality" candidates than some provinces which had low matric enrollment rates. 

The province enrolled 142 160 candidates and produced 17 751 distinctions.

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