The Matric Class of 2018 outdone themselves when they obtained a pass rate of 78.2% from the 75.1% scored in 2017. The pass rate, which is inclusive of the progressed learners, is a 3.1% improvement from last year.

With the progressed learners excluded, the 2018 NSC overall pass rate stands at 79.4%, a 2.9% improvement from the 76.5% achieved in 2017. Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga made the much awaited announcement in Midrand last Thursday evening. In her address, Motshekga stated, “For the past eight years, we have noted that the NSC pass rate has consistently been above the previous 70% glass ceiling. The class of 2018 must be commended for maintaining this trend. Well done to the class of 2018.”

The group was the fourth largest cohort in the history of basic education to register for any NSC examination in the country. Out of the 78.2% pass rate, 172 000 of the learners qualify for admission to Bachelor studies. The number of candidates, who passed with a Diploma is 141 700, which represents 27.6% of the total number of candidates, who wrote the 2018 NSC examinations; 86 800 passed with Higher Certificate which represents 16.9% of the total number of candidates, who wrote the 2018 NSC examinations.

The number of candidates who passed with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) is 99; and the number of candidates who passed with an endorsed NSC is 129. The year 2018 saw about 157 000 distinctions being achieved, a decline of 2.6% from 2017. The main achievers towards the distinctions obtained were KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo.

“It is remarkable to note that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo – the three rural provinces, produced a combined total of 75 600 distinctions, which is equivalent to 46.9% of the total distinctions,” said the minister. In the 12 key subjects including Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science among others, the total number of distinctions stands at 58 800.

This year, 3 856 learners with special educational needs wrote the 2017 NSC examinations, an increase of 39.9% from 2017; and 3 051 learners with special educational needs passed the examinations. Of the special needs learners, 1 669 achieved Bachelor passes; 861 Diploma passes; 402 Higher Certificate passes and 199 endorsed NSC passes. Learners with special educational needs also attained 1 927 distinctions.

“We will be the first to concede that, despite the notable stability of and improvements in the system, we are yet to cross our own Rubicon.We must agree that much has been achieved, but much more needs to be done in the areas of efficiency and quality,” the minister added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated the Matric Class of 2018 for keeping the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate above 70%. The president said this achievement underscores the importance of learners, educators, families, administrators and political leadership working together. “As South Africans, we can all take pride in the dedication shown by learners and educators. Together, they have presented our nation with another cohort of young people whose life chances have been significantly enhanced, and whose success in basic education is indeed reversing the damage inflicted on generations of South Africans who were deprived of quality education under apartheid,” said Ramaphosa.

The president urged matriculants to show responsibility in exploring opportunities in higher education, vocational training or workplace experience, and to adopt the understanding that learning is and should be a lifelong endeavour. He also encouraged learners who did not pass to make use of second chance programmes and to believe in their ability to overcome this challenge as one of many that will bring out the best in them during the course of their lives.