NSC results indicate that the inequality gap is closing | Western Cape Government


NSC results indicate that the inequality gap is closing

8 January 2020

Yesterday I attended the release of the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in Johannesburg. It was a happy occasion and I am pleased that we have improved our pass rate to 82.3%.

I am also delighted with our highest ever bachelor pass rate of 43.6%, a close second to Gauteng.

A highlight was definitely presenting, with the National Minister of Education, the three top candidates in the country, which are all from the Western Cape.
(Statement from 7 January on release of Provincial Results: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/media-releases)

 But today is about celebrating our schools and all of our candidates’ results.

At 12h00 today, over 50 000 candidates in the Western Cape had the opportunity to receive their individual results. Principals and teachers also eagerly waited to see how their schools fared.

I visited Paarl Gimnasium High School in Paarl. The school achieved a 98.7% pass rate.

I chose this school last year already, as it is the school of the son of one of my SAPS protectors, who collected his results today. My protector joined me at the release of my daughters' results in 2017, so I wanted to do the same for him today! Coincidentally, I found out only recently that it is also the school of the top candidate in the country, Madelein Dippenaar. So it was a double celebration.

I would like to congratulate all our schools and candidates that achieved their desired results. You have done this province proud.

Very big congratulations to Metro North Education District for achieving the highest district percentage pass rate in the province – 86.3%. This district was followed closely by the Overberg District with 86% and the Eden and Central Karoo District with 84.1%, The West Coast District achieved 83.8%. Metro Central achieved 83.4%, Metro South 81%, Cape Winelands 80.7%, and Metro East 78.3%.

Next week, we will be awarding schools for their performance in these examinations using specific criteria, however, I would like to make mention of a number of schools that have notably increased their percentage pass rate, whilst still retaining similar numbers writing. These schools include, amongst others:

  • Ihlumelo Junior Secondary – up by 21.3 percentage points from 56.5% to 77.8%, and bachelors pass rate from 25 to 48% (25 to 48 candidates)
  • Ashton Public Combined School– up 28.9% points from 52% in 2018 to 80.9% in 2019.
  • Silversands Secondary – up by 21 percentage points from 70.8% to 91.8%
  • St Andrew’s Secondary – up by 21.7 percentage points from 50% to 71.7% (with 46 extra candidates writing)
  • Esangweni Secondary – up 27.3 percentage points from 41.7% to 69% in 2019.
  • Goudini High School – up 26.6 percentage points from 62.4% to 92% in 2019.

Congratulations to all these schools and others who achieved improvements in their percentage pass rates. May you all continue to achieve improved results in 2020.

Reducing the inequality gap between schools.

I have had the opportunity to analyse the results of schools more closely over the past 24 hours and some exciting statistics are emerging.

The results indicate that since 2009, significant progress has been made in improving the education system and learner outcomes in this province, particularly in our poorer schools.

This is a reflection of a maturing provincial education system responding positively to a number of systems improvements and interventions, such as our E-learning and Transform to Perform strategies, as well as targeted interventions and allocation of resources in these schools.

While we acknowledge that further interventions and improvements need to be made to ensure that all learners have equal access to quality education in this province, there is no argument that the inequality gap is closing.

Over the past 10 years, schools in Quintiles 1-3 (no-fee schools) have improved their pass rate by 16.7 percentage points from 56.7% in 2009 to 73.6% in 2019. Quintile 4 and 5 schools (fee-paying schools) have increased only slightly during this same period with 2.4 percentage points from 83.3% to 85.7%.

I acknowledge that there is still a 12.1 percentage point difference between our no-fee and fee paying schools – however, it is a great improvement from the 26.4% in 2009 when this current Government took over.

Similarly, the quality of these passes has also improved. Quintile 1-3 schools have increased their Bachelor pass rate from 10.4% in 2009 to 27.4% in 2019. This is a 17 percentage point increase compared to a 9.8 point increase in Quintiles 4 and 5.

The important thing is to retain quality at the top end, while ensuring that there are improvements from the bottom. We will continue our efforts to further close the inequality gap in the years to come.


As we reflect on the achievements of the Class of 2019, I want to thank all the learners, teachers, district and head office officials and their support teams for their hard work and commitment in making these positive results a reality.

I would also like to congratulate all of our principals who have ensured that their schools’ targets were appropriately set and suitably attained in 2019 with the support of the education district offices and circuit officials.

And a big thank you also to parents who gave their children their full support during their schooling and the final examinations.

My sincere appreciation goes to all the educators who have successfully prepared the candidates for these examinations and whose dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed.

For those candidates that did not achieve their desired results, there are options. I would encourage all learners who did not pass their exams not to give up and to continue doing whatever they can to complete Grade 12.

There are measures in place for anyone who is disappointed to receive counselling, either by approaching their school, who will put them in touch with the relevant people in the district offices, or by phoning the Safe Schools Hotline - 0800 45 46 47.

Those that qualify for supplementary examinations must apply by the 31st of January 2020. Hard copy applications must be submitted to the Examination Client Centre, Grand Central Building, Lower Parliament Street, Cape Town.

Learners can apply for remarks (R112 per subject) and rechecks (R27 per subject) until 22 January 2020. They can apply using the online service: www.eservices.gov.za

More information on the above can be found at : https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/nsc-exams

We are pleased with the overall outcome of the 2019 NSC examinations and are aware of the steps that need to be taken to continue to improve the quality of education in the Western Cape even further.

In the coming days and weeks, we will conduct a detailed analysis of the 2019 NSC results. More comment regarding these results will be released in the next few days.  We will also ensure that we continue to take the steps needed to improve education outcomes in the Western Cape.


   Comment on overall district and school achievements
   Comment on reducing the inequality gap
   Comment on the Supplementary and remark/rechecks


Kind Regards

Media Enquiries: 

Bronagh Hammond
Director: Communications
Western Cape Education Department
072 7241422 (please whatsapp or sms me if unavailable)