JOHANNESBURG- For the second time in a row, the Free State province has emerged as the country’s top performer in the 2017 matric results, obtaining 89,8%.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Thursday announced that the overall pass rate in the National Senior Certificate including progressed learners was 75, 1%.
The pass rate increased from 72.5% in 2016. Without progressed leaners, the pass rate was 76, 5 %.
Motshekga said that despite the challenges that exist within the education sector, the class of 2017 had performed well.
“Government must be applauded for its pro- poor policies which in the basic education arena, alleviate poverty through a variety of interventions among others, the pro poor funding of schools and the provision of nutrition on a daily basis,” Motshega said.
Minister Motshega pleaded with pupils who have failed Grade 12 to return to school this year and to take part in the supplementary exams if they qualify.
Gauteng was the second best performing province with 86%, followed by the Western Cape at 84.4%. The North West achieved 82.1%, with the Northern Cape obtaining 77.6%.
Kwazulu-Natal was one of the most improved provinces after it recorded 73.6%.
Both the Eastern Cape and Limpopo were the only provinces that performed below 70%.
The Basic Education Department also said that there was an increase in the number of pupils who were switching from Maths literacy to Mathematics.
The minister said that the class of 2017 obtained 161 081 distinctions.
A total of 634,814 full-time candidates wrote the 2017 NSC exams at 6,844 venues across the country.
In a statement, President Jacob Zuma said that increase in the pass rate was encouraging.
“We welcome the fact that the pass rate has consistently improved since the democratic dispensation, especially since the reconfiguration of Education into two separate departments namely Basic Education on one hand and Higher Education and Training on the other hand. This reaffirms government’s focus on education as an apex priority and the greatest enabler of the society,” Zuma said.
Zuma said that pupils who failed should not be discouraged, but explore other available opportunities.