#Matric2015 sees highest number of pupils pass in SA's history

Basic Education says while the latest matric pass rate is lower than 2014, there’s a lot more to celebrate.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announces the national matric pass rate for 2015. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says despite the five percent drop in the 2015 matric pass rate compared to 2014, last year saw the highest number of pupils pass in the history of South Africa.

The class of 2015 achieved a 70.7 percent pass rate.

The Western Cape and Gauteng came out tops with 84.7 percent and 84.2 percent respectively.

The top performing district in the country for last year is Sedibeng East in Gauteng.

Mosthekga says while the latest matric pass rate is lower than 2014, there's a lot more to celebrate.

"455,825 learners have passed in 2015. In terms of numbers, we've won the number game for 2015."

2015 top matriculants. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

Motshekga says last year also saw an improvement in the dropout rate.

"This for us is a positive indicator that we're addressing the conundrum of retention and dropout rates which is a major issue in the sector for us."

The minister has admitted while so called 'progress learners' who are pupils who have been promoted to Grade 12 despite having failed Grade 11, have had an influence in the latest results.

The group didn't have much of an impact in the overall pass rate.


Universities have congratulated the increased numbers of matriculants who obtained bachelors passes in what's been described as the highest recorded number of pupils passing the year.

While pupils have been reminded that academic tertiary education is not the only option after school, universities are anticipating an increased number of people looking to access universities.

This comes after a year of #FeesMustFall protests which saw students across the country demanding free education for all and better access to tertiary education.

Wits University Vice Chancellor Adam Habib says there are limited numbers of open spaces at the institution and there will be a greater challenge for spaces this year.

"In real numbers however, there are clearly more people that have bachelor passes, which means there's going to be essentially between 10,000-15,000 more people who will be looking for access into the university system. This is challenging as the universities have limited spaces available."

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga with top physical science achiever Hamandishe Mathivha. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

Habib says the matric pass rate for 2015 shows that there is an attempt to improve the quality of passes in subjects fundamental to university entrances like maths and science.

"There's clearly an attempt to increase the level of the examination papers which has been long overdue as universities have long been arguing that the quality of the learner entering the university system is not what it should be."

Vice Dean of the Education Department at the University of Johannesburg Coert Loock, says it must be emphasised that there are many options available to pupils after school.

"The emphasis should not only be on the academic root, but also on the skills an technology root."

Loock says there must be more of an emphasis on vocational training after school rather than academics training.

"There's no a higher emphasis on technology, and for me that is incredibly important because one areas we've neglected in our education system is vocational education."

Click here to visit EWN's matric portal which includes all the results.