National Senior Certificate 2013 Matrics: A "Class Act"
6 January 2014
Statement by Minister of Education Donald Grant
I am very pleased to announce the provincial results of the 2013 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
This year’s results are to be celebrated. The Western Cape has again exceeded all our records and has improved in our four key areas of success. We believe our results are credible and accurately represent ongoing improvements within the system.
We are especially delighted to have exceeded our 2014 target of 40 000 passes, and improved on our indicators of quality such as an increase in Bachelor Degree passes and a growth in the number of candidates passing mathematics and physical science.
Altogether, this year’s performance by the Western Cape Class of 2013 was a "Class Act" and I am extremely proud of what they have achieved.
I congratulate the candidates, educators, principals and district officials for a job well done.
If we look at the figures closely, we can see improvements in all areas:
The Numbers Passing
Increasing the number of candidates writing and passing the NSC is one of the Strategic Priorities of this Province, because it reflects the retention rate of learners throughout their schooling career.
It is essential that we reduce the drop-out rate and ensure that learners have the opportunity to write and ultimately pass their NSC examination.
In 2013, we had a record number of 40 558 candidates passing the NSC with a provincial pass rate of 85.1%. We are very pleased that we exceeded our stretch target of 40 000 passes and that the pass rate increased while the number of candidates grew so significantly.
40 558 is the highest number of passes ever achieved in this province since the inception of the NSC.
- Please note – in the 2011 year, given there was a statistical anomaly with the Class of 2011 as a result of the standardisation of age of admission in January 2000. The Grade 1 intake in the year 2000 dropped by approximately 20 000 learners. Therefore a smaller cohort progressed annually through the system.
I am also encouraged with the improvements in the retention rate in our schools.
If we consider the retention of learners at Public Ordinary schools from 2009 to 2013, we have improved significantly.
Retention at the higher end of the system can be gauged by looking at the number of matric passes at Public Ordinary Schools compared to the number of learners that enrolled in Grade 10 (at Public Ordinary schools) two years prior.
In this instance, the Western Cape has improved the retention of learners that pass the NSC from 36.9% in 2009 to 52.1% in 2013. This is an increase of 15.2%.
The WCED will continue with its efforts to improve the retention rate in our schools, and thereby enhance the life chances of our learners.
Number of Quality Passes
While we are excited about the record quantity of passes achieved this year, we are even more excited about the quality of those passes.
In 2013, in the Western Cape, 40.9% of candidates achieved access to Bachelor Degree study.
This figure is the highest in the country.
Altogether, 19 477 candidates qualified for Bachelor Degree study. This is 3 158 more quality passes in 2013 than in 2012.
This number has steadily increased over the last five years with the total number qualifying for bachelor passes increasing from 14 324 in 2009 to 14 414 in 2010, 15 215 in 2011, 16 319 in 2012, and a praiseworthy 19 477 in 2013.
Similarly, the number of diploma passes has increased from 12 418 in 2011 to 14 602 in 2012 and 15 032 in 2013.
These figures are significant as they signify a steady improvement in the quality of passes within the system. It also means that more learners than ever before will now have the opportunity to apply for admission at higher education institutions.
In determining quality, we must also consider the mathematics and physical science results.
One of priorities is to increase the number of candidates writing in these subjects.
I am therefore pleased that in 2013, we saw improvements in numbers passing in both areas.
In 2013, 12 216 candidates passed mathematics compared to 11 311 in 2012. The pass rate was 73.3%.
In physical science, the numbers passing increased from 7 995 in 2012 to 8 333 in 2013. Physical science candidates achieved a 72.6% pass rate – a result that we can all be proud of given that the pass rate in this subject was 52.9% just five years ago.
These results reveal that our strategies to improve the numbers passing mathematics and physical science are producing steady gains. There is, however, still much to be done.
A further indicator of success is the reduction of underperforming schools. An underperforming school is a school that has achieved less than 60% in the NSC.
I am very pleased to see further decreases in the number of underperforming schools in the province this last year.
In the last five years, this province has managed to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 85 in 2009 to 23 in 2013.
More details on the decreases in underperforming schools will be announced in the coming days, following the release of the school and individual results.
The WCED will also release further information on individual school results and successes, particularly in our poorer communities, once they are made public.
Overall, this province can be proud of the credible and quality result we have achieved this year.
The Western Cape is the only province to have applied measures of competency testing. This is to ensure the highest possible standard of marking and that the results in the Western Cape would be a fair and accurate reflection of the abilities of our candidates.
I should like to congratulate all the provinces that improved on their results and their top candidates.
I should also like to reiterate a statement I made last year – “Examination results are not about numbers in isolation – they are about better life chances for our young people and a government which is prepared to support the improvement of these chances.”
We are confident that in the Western Cape there will continue to yield sustainable and credible improvements in the quality and quantity of passes in the years to come.
I acknowledge that there is still much to be done, and we will continue to look at how we can best support our schools and learners and achieve lasting systemic improvements as per our Strategic Objectives.