South Africa’s real 2016 Matric pass rate – 44.8%

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has released the 2016 National Senior Certificate results, revealing a matric pass rate of 72.5%.

However, the official pass rate does not tell the full story – ignoring the large percentage of students who drop out before they write the matric exams.

Equal Education describes the matric pass percentage as a superficial and misleading indicator of public education quality.

“The pass rate reflects only the performance of those learners who managed to stay in school for 12 years and obscures how many dropped out along the way,” said Equal Education.

It said the Basic Education Department has systematically failed to address learner retention.

For a broader perspective, you must use a cohort matric pass rate, it said.

Equal Education defines the cohort matric pass rate as the percentage of learners in grade 2 who pass matric 11 years later.

South Africa’s true pass rate

Of the 1,081,652 grade 2 cohort class enrollment, only 668,612 students made it to the matric final exams. This is a dropout rate of 38.19%.

The 2016 cohort matric pass rate – referred to as the true pass rate – is therefore 44.8%.

The table below shows the cohort matric pass rate over the last five years, using Equal Education’s calculations.

Year Number who wrote matric Pass rate Cohort enrollment in grade 2 Cohort pass rate
2016 668,612 72.5% 1,081,652 44.8%
2015 667,925 70.7% 1,118,690 42.2%
2014 532,860 75.8% 1,109,201 36.4%
2013 562,112 78.2% 1,111,858 39.6%
2012 511,152 73.9% 1,012,892 37.3%
2011 496,090 70.2% 944,977 36.8%

Now read: Matric results 2016 – where to get them online

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South Africa’s real 2016 Matric pass rate – 44.8%