South Africa’s matric pass rate — official vs “real” from 1995 to 2021

Basic education minister Angie Motshega announced this week that 76.4% of matrics who wrote their final exams in 2021 had passed.

However, experts have said the education department’s emphasis on increasing the matric pass rate has come at the cost of declining standards.

Civil action groups have also warned that the official pass rate is beguiling as it disregards the high school learners who dropped out along the way — even those who registered for their matric exams but didn’t end up sitting the finals.

“Dropout should be a key performance indicator, serving as an accountability measure for the sector,” the Zero Dropout Campaign has stated.

The group also noted that young men had constituted a declining proportion of those writing matric over the last decade.

“For instance, in 2018, for every 100 young women writing matric, there were only 80 young men. Boys are dropping out at a higher rate.”

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