Gauteng’s Tshwane South District managed to remain the top district nationally with an average of 89.6%

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2020 matric results on Monday and said 76.2% of the learners who sat down for the exam passed.

The Free State is the leading province with 85.1% learners having passed. It was followed by Gauteng which posted 83.8% pass rate. Both provinces posted a decline of 3.2% and 3.5% from 2019, respectively.

Motshekga says the class of 2020 managed to produce quality passes under difficult circumstances due to COVID-19.

“The high-quality passes we have achieved this year, especially the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects, are the hallmarks of the performance of the Class of 2020, We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate,” said Motshekga.

Education expert Professor Mary Metcalfe, who also believes that the class of 2020 did well, says learners who failed should be encouraged to try again.

“I think the results are excellent given the difficulties of the class of 2020, a drop of 5% is disappointing but the fact that we don’t seem to have major drop out of learners should be encouraging. The fact that some learners failed is a pity, those learners need to be encouraged to write again, to understand that it was a difficult year and not to judge themselves too harshly. We need to support them as family and community to try again,” says Metcalfe

Educators union of South Africa spokesperson, Kabelo Mahlobogwane, says it is encouraging to see that learners and teachers have managed to work very hard under the difficult conditions of COVID-19.

“They worked very hard to make sure that regardless of the situation they still come out as victors, this for us shows the resilience and the capacity and the capabilities that our learners working together with teachers have, and really this is very encouraging and motivating to see that we do have such committed individuals within the basic education sector willing to serve it regardless of the situation,” he says.

 Mahlobogwane believes that the results could have been better had the basic education department provided enough support.

“We strongly believe that we could have gotten better results had we received the support from the department of basic education and this is so sad in a sense that there are a number of learners who didn’t manage to make it, not because of their own individual capacities but because of the situation they find themselves in. The IEB we also congratulate them and we say to basic education, government and other stakeholders that they need to take notes, no situation can hinder the progress of a capable government and department we want to encourage the DBE to focus on preparing public education system,” he says.

The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature also congratulated all learners who made it through the difficult year.

“We are proud of the efforts put by all stakeholders to ensure that education becomes a societal priority. We welcome the 83.3 % pass rate making Gauteng the second-best province. Not only has the department under great leadership at all levels done well in terms of numbers but they have improved the quality of the results,” says the caucus in a statement.