IEB records 98.07% matric pass rate for class of 2020

IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer hailed an excellent performance of the class of 2020 under difficult circumstances. Stock photo.
IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer hailed an excellent performance of the class of 2020 under difficult circumstances. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Julija Sapic

The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) has recorded a 98.07% matric pass rate for 2020, a slight drop compared to the previous year's 98.82%.

The IEB exam results were released at midnight.

Umalusi‚ the examination standardisation body‚ monitored the marking and results and declared the exams to be fair and valid‚ according to a statement put out by the IEB.

IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer said 88.42% (compared to 89.51% in 2019) of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, 8.14% (7.91% in 2019) qualified for entry to diploma study and 1.51% (1.4% in 2019) achieved entry for study at the higher certificate level.

Oberholzer said 12,024 full-time and 1,139 part-time candidates from 233 examination centres writing in 261 venues across Southern Africa wrote the IEB National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. These included pupils from Namibia (183), Mozambique (33) and Eswatini (299).

This is an increase from 2019 when there were 11,818 full-time candidates and 779 part-time candidates.

She said while the extent was not immediately clear in the numbers, Covid-19 had had an effect on the school population and saw several learners withdraw from the year and postpone completion of grade 12 until 2021.

“It is interesting to note that the hard lockdown had differing effects across schools within the IEB. Some schools were able to make a smooth transition to online teaching and learning as they had the resources available and, in fact, had already been using them in the normal course of events,” Oberholzer said.

“Their teachers were experienced in this mode of delivery, as were their learners who had access to devices and stable internet connectivity.”

But many schools could not deploy an online teaching model, either because either the school or the majority of the pupils did not have adequate resources.

“To fulfil their commitment to teach their learners and not be defeated by the pandemic, teachers in these situations reverted to traditional distance-education strategies ...  prepared weekly learning programmes for learners using textbook references and notes together with prepared exercises and tasks.”

She added that some schools also saw a number of pupils leaving to join distance and online education providers, and there was also an increase in the number of children being home-schooled.

Oberholzer said as the exams grew closer, a number of pupils opted to write only a few subjects in 2020, postponing examinations in other subjects to 2021.

“Understandably, learners with comorbidities or who shared their home with vulnerable family members were fearful of contracting Covid-19 while writing. Despite the extraordinary efforts of schools to manage these specific cases, there were still those cases where the child or the parents could not take the risk.

“The excellent performance of the class of 2020 under very difficult circumstances underscores the importance of the years of good, solid teaching and learning before the grade 12 year.

“These achievements are proof that the grade 12 year on its own does not provide the understanding, perseverance and resilience needed to achieve excellent results in the matric year – but that it is the culmination of work and learning over 12 or 13 years of quality schooling.”

She said the closing date for remarking applications was March 3 and the results from this would be released on March 26. The closing date for learners who qualify to enrol for the supplementary examination is April 16.

Oberholzer said the 2020 performance in advanced programme (AP) mathematics, consisting of 1,325 learners from IEB schools and 841 learners in state schools, was  pleasing, with 84.3% achieving a pass above 40%.

From a total of 639 pupils offering AP English, 97.65% achieved a pass mark of 40% or above; all learners offering AP Afrikaans achieved a mark of 40% and above.

Gauteng had more than 50% of the IEB learners (7,068), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (2,201), the Western Cape (1,358), the Eastern Cape (612) and Mpumalanga (385).


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