South Africa’s real matric pass rate – 40%

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has announced the matric pass rate for the class of 2018 – 78.2%.

The “real” matric pass rate is much lower, however, when you take the total cohort of students who started school and would eventually become the matric class of 2018.

Looking at the number of learners enrolled in Grade 1 in 2007 – the group which would reach matric in 2018 – the total was 1,002,500.

With 512,700 full-time learners writing matric in 2018, and then 78.2% of these students passing, the “real” matric pass rates comes in at 40%.

Students dropping out

This sentiment was echoed by DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education Nomsa Marchesi.

Marchesi said that Motshekga has again failed to address “the large number of learners who don’t write matric in the first place”.

“Nearly half the learners who enrolled in Grade 1 in 2007 didn’t write the full-time matric exams in 2018 as they were expected to,” said Marchesi.

“These learners are either stuck repeating grades or being lost to the ANC’s failing education system completely.”

Marchesi added that a “good quality, timely matric qualification” was essential for school leavers – and we must look at more than the simple matric pass rate when assessing the quality of basic education.

Equal Education also weighed in on the matter, stating that “learning backlogs that develop and deepen in the early years of schooling” are a major contributor to learners dropping out.

“Keeping learners in school and ensuring that they leave school with a meaningful qualification remains one of the key challenges in South Africa’s public education system,” it said.

“Particularly concerning is that approximately 12% of young people still do not even complete Grade 9.”

It is for this reason that Equal Education said the “throughput rate” of learners to matric must be considered alongside the matric pass rate.

Real pass rate

The table below details the “true” matric pass rate, taking learner dropouts into account.

Year Wrote Matric (Full-time) Pass Rate Grade 1 Cohort Cohort Pass Rate
2018 512,700 78.2% 1,002,500 40%

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South Africa’s real matric pass rate – 40%