The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has published the matric results for the 2020 cohort, with the group achieving a pass rate of 76.2%.

This is a drop of 5.1 percentage points compared to the 2019 matric pass rate (81.3%). A total of 607,226 candidates entered for the November 2020 NSC examination, while a total of 578,468 students sat and wrote the exams.

Presenting the results on Monday (22 February), Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga said that despite the drop she was pleased with the results as she was expecting a ‘blood bath’  due to the difficulties experience by learners in 2020.

Chief amongst these was the Covid-19 lockdown which cut down on available teaching and learning time by almost a full term, she said.

Students also faced the possibility of having to re-write their maths and science papers after the exams leaked early, giving rise to security concerns.

“I am very happy that in the midst of all the difficulties we are able to stay at 76.2%, with more quality passes this year.”

She added that more learners received more Bachelor Degree passes compared to last year’s cohort, while there was a 13.1% increase in the number of distinctions that students achieved.

The pass rates at a provincial level were as follows:

  • Free State: 85.1%
  • Gauteng: 83.8%
  • Western Cape: 79.9%
  • KZN: 77.6%
  • North West: 76.2%
  • Mpumalanga: 73.7%
  • Limpopo: 68.2%
  • Eastern: 68.1%
  • Northern Cape: 66%

Motshekga said that the national provincial pass rates are also partially skewed as they included ‘progresses learners’ who would not typically have written matric exams in a traditional school year.

The matric examinations started on 5 November 2020 and the final papers were written on 15 December 2020.

The later start, the Basic Education Department said, allowed schools and learners adequate time to cover the curriculum.

Marking of the 2020 matric exams started on 4 January 2021 and involved 45,000 matric exam markers, 216 question papers, and over 10 million scripts.

This was the seventh cohort of candidates to write the NSC examination that is aligned to the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), a curriculum which is benchmarked against international standards.


Read: Where to get your 2020 matric results