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The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education today applauded the matric class of 2021 for perseverance through very difficult times in South Africa’s education system to complete its National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.

The Chairperson of the committee, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, said this class of matriculants has had to endure two years of blended or rotational learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “This class did not have a full grade 11 year in 2020, which meant that the educator had to complete the curriculum that was not covered in that year in Grade 12, and that was an added pressure on our learners,” said Mbinqo-Gigaba.

Mbinqo-Gigaba said all that after the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, announced the NSC results. The matric class of 2021 obtained an overall pass rate of 76.4%, an achievement which is slightly higher than the 2020 pass rate.

The leading province is the Free State with 85.7%, followed by Gauteng with 82.8% and the Western Cape with 81.2%. A total of 733 917 full-time candidates registered for the NSC in 2021 compared to 610 484 in 2020.

Mbinqo-Gigaba said despite the curriculum challenge that the learners faced, many also faced social challenges that included dealing with Covid-19 related illnesses and deaths in their families. “This excludes the other common challenges of poverty, unemployment, gangsterism and drugs that our learners face on a daily basis.

“The committee notes these challenges and feels that under the circumstances, this cohort of learners made us extremely proud. We would like to congratulate them, their parents, caregivers, educators and the basic education sector as a whole,” added Mbinqo-Gigaba.