Despite the astronomical challenges faced by the Class of 2021 for the past two academic years, the National Senior Certificate (NSC) overall pass rate for 2021, with progressed learners included, stands at 76.4%.
This is an improvement of 0.2% from the pass rate of 76.2% achieved by the class of 2020.
Announcing the results of the NSC examinations in Auckland Park on Thursday evening, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, said this represents a record of 537,687 candidates, who passed the 2021 NSC examinations – an improvement of 21.9% from 2020.
A total of 897,163 candidates sat to write the 2021 NSC examination, an increase of 23.6% in 2020.
Bachelor, diploma passes
Motshekga noted that the 2021 Bachelor passes in numbers is the highest attained in the entire history of the NSC examinations; but is the second highest to that attained in 2019, when expressed as a percentage.
“The number of candidates qualifying for admission to Bachelor studies at universities, is 256,031 – an improvement of 21.4% from 2020. This represents 36.4% of the total number of candidates who wrote the 2021 NSC exams,” the Minister said.
The number of candidates who passed with a diploma is 177,572, which represents 25.2% - an improvement of 17.8% from 2020.
Meanwhile, the number of candidates who passed with Higher Certificates stands at 103,859, which represents 14.9% of the total number of candidates who wrote the 2021 NSC combined exams.
A total of 211,725 distinctions were achieved – an increase of 19.3% from 2020.
“We must state that KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng contributed the most Bachelor passes in the combined Bachelor passes of 117,704, which is equivalent to 46.0% of the overall Bachelor passes nationally.
“It is important to note that a total of 433,603 candidates – equivalent to 61.6% who achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, are now eligible for studies at Higher Education Institutions. The 103,859 candidates – equivalent to 14.7% - who obtained Higher Certificate passes, may register at TVET and other skills training institutions,” the Minister said.
Success despite disruption
Motshekga commended the Class of 2021, which was the most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic for enduring two years of harsh exposure to the virus and disruptions.
She said the sector continued with differentiated timetabling; the trimmed curriculum delivery for the school communities below Grade 12; the regular provisioning of school feeding and psychosocial services; as well as the extra tuition and support provided to the Matric Class of 2021.
“It is therefore correct to contextualise the hostile environment within which the Class of 2021 sat for their 2021 National Senior Certificate examinations, an environment that none of the previous cohorts of learners were ever exposed to in the past,” Motshekga said.
Motshekga reminded the nation that for the past 10 years, the NSC pass rates have consistently been going up, from 60% in 2009, to above 70% in recent years.
She said the Class of 2021 must be commended for maintaining this trend, despite the astronomical challenges they faced.