South Africa’s matric pass rate – 1995 to 2018

Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education, has announced that the matric pass rate for 2018 is 78.2% – which is up from the 2017 pass rate of 75.1%.

172,043 students achieved a bachelor’s pass, while a further 141,700 achieved a diploma pass.

“In 2018, about 157,000 distinctions were achieved, a decline of 2.6% from 2017,” added Motshekga.

Gauteng had the highest pass rate, with 87.9% of students from the province attaining their matric certificate, while the Free State, Western Cape, and North West provinces all also achieved pass rates in excess of 80%.

In contrast, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape achieved the worst pass rates, with 69.4% and 70.6% of matric students passing respectively.

False figures

DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education Nomsa Marchesi has accused Motshekga, however, of failing to take into account students who dropped out of school before writing matric exams.

“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.”

Of those who started Grade 1 in 2007, only 40% passed matric in 2018.

Equal Education said it is important that learners are kept in school until they have a meaningful qualification.

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

It added that the “throughput rate” of learners to matric should also be considered when discussing pass rates.

Matric pass rate from 1995 to 2018

The matric pass rate has climbed substantially over the past 24 years, but this has come at a cost, say various experts, over and above the dropout rates.

Jonathan Jansen has previously said that “passing Grade 12 in South Africa is actually quite easy, and it means very little”, due to the lowered standards of the exams.

Additionally, South African maths lecturers and teachers told MyBroadband that maths standards have dropped over the past two decades.

Alongside the standards of matric subjects dropping, the adjustment of various matric subject results has taken place.

The table below shows the matric pass rate from 1995 to 2018.

Matric Pass Rate
Year Pass Rate
1995 53.4%
1996 54.4%
1997 47.4%
1998 49.3%
1999 48.9%
2000 57.9%
2001 61.7%
2002 68.9%
2003 73.3%
2004 70.7%
2005 68.3%
2006 66.5%
2007 65.2%
2008 62.5%
2009 60.6%
2010 67.8%
2011 70.3%
2012 73.9%
2013 78.3%
2014 75.8%
2015 70.7%
2016 72.5%
2017 75.1%
2018 78.2%

Now read: 2018 matric pass rate – 78.2%

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South Africa’s matric pass rate – 1995 to 2018