Record pass numbers for the Western Cape


2 January 2012

I am delighted to announce the provincial results of the 2012 National Senior Certificate examinations. 

An appropriate way to describe this year’s results is that the Class of 2012 put on a “Quality Performance”, breaking records and improving on all our key indicators of success. 

These indicators include:

  • An increase in the number of candidates writing and passing the NSC examinations;
  • the increased number of candidates achieving access to a Bachelor’s Degree;
  • the growth in the number of candidates passing mathematics and science; and
  • a decrease in the number of underperforming schools (i.e. public ordinary high schools with a matric pass rate of less than 60%).

Increasing the number of candidates writing and passing the NSC is one of our 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 2012, we had a record number of 36 992 candidates passing the NSC with a provincial pass rate of 82.8%. We are very pleased that the pass rate remained stable while the number of candidates grew so significantly. 

Achieving 36 992 passes is important as it is the highest number ever achieved in this province since the inception of the NSC. This is an increase of 3 846 passes since 2011 – a substantial improvement in any terms. 

While the pass rate has remained constant, it indicates that the system has stabilized despite the above substantial increase in the candidates writing this year as compared to the 2011 number. 

While we are excited about the record ‘quantity’ of passes achieved this year, we are even more excited about the ‘quality’ of those passes. With justification I can best describe the Class of 2012 as “Quality Performers”. 

Where does this increased quality lie? 

1.     More bachelor and diploma passes:

In 2012, we have again significantly increased the number of candidates who achieved access to Bachelor Degree study. 1 104 more learners qualified for Bachelor Degree study in 2012 than in 2011. This number has steadily increased over the last four years with the total number eligible increasing from 14 324 in 2009 to 14 414 in 2010, 15 215 in 2011 and a record breaking 16 319 in 2012. 

Similarly, the number of diploma passes has also increased from 12 418 in 2011 to another record breaking figure of 14 602 in 2012. 

This means that more learners than ever before will now have the opportunity to apply for admission at higher education institutions. 

2.     More Mathematics passes:

The Class of 2012 achieved a record breaking pass rate of 73.5% in Mathematics with 11 311 candidates passing. 

This result has steadily increased year on year with the Mathematics pass rate increasing from 64.9% in 2009 to 66% in 2010 to 68.7% in 2011 and 73.5% in 2012. 

3.     More Physical Science passes

We also see improved results in Physical Science, with 7 995 candidates passing Physical Science, achieving a record breaking 70.9% pass rate. Again, these results have increased steadily since 2009 from 52.9% in 2009 to  59.6% in 2010, 65.3% in 2011 and 70.9% in 2012.

These results in Mathematics and Physical Science are important ‘quality’ indicators, as good results in these subjects open up learning and earning opportunities for our children and are important for the economic growth of South Africa.  It also signifies that our strategies to improve mathematics and physical science passes are producing positive increases in the results. 

4.     A reduction in the number of underperforming schools

Finally, a further indicator of success is the reduction of underperforming schools. 

In 2009, 85 public ordinary schools achieved a pass rate of less than 60%. This number was reduced to 78 in 2010 and then to 30 in 2011. This was a significant achievement then and we are even more pleased to announce that we have reduced this number once again. 

In 2012 we saw the number of schools achieving less than 60% decrease from 30 schools to 26 schools with a number of these 26 schools only narrowly missing the mark. 

Overall, I am satisfied with the 2012 results, especially given that this year’s cohort of learners has substantially increased in number from 2011 and that the examination papers, as described by Umalusi, were more cognitively demanding than before. 

I would like to congratulate the province of Gauteng for achieving the highest pass rate this year. Well done. Any improvement in education in any province is good for South Africa. 

I acknowledge that there is still much to be done to improve education in this province and we will continue to look at how we can best support our schools and learners and achieve far-reaching systemic change. 

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. 

This year’s NSC results have confirmed that the system is qualitatively getting better and I believe that further improvements can and will be achieved in the years to come. 

We can already see improved education outcomes in the other Grades and the 2012 Literacy and Numeracy testing results (to be announced later this month) reflect these improvements. 

On behalf of the Western Cape Government I would like to congratulate all our Grade 12 learners who have passed the 2012 NSC. You have done us all proud and we celebrate your success.  

The Class of 2012 will always be remembered for their ‘quality performance’ and the new records they have now set. 

The challenge now for the Class of 2013 is to build on these improvements and produce even better results.

Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

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