South Africa


IEB records increased Matric pass rate despite impact of Covid

IEB records increased Matric pass rate despite impact of Covid
From left: Alexander Sittmann got eight distinctions and plans on studying medicine at UCT / Ndumiso Mbangeleli, got five distinctions and will be doing a bridging course in order to study Computer Science in the UK / Robyn Anderson got seven distinctions said that it was amazing that she was able to achieve all the goals that she set. (Photos: Supplied)

On Wednesday, the Independent Examinations Board announced that the pass rate for the 2021 National Senior Certificate was 98.39%.

Despite having to adapt to new modes of learning and teaching over the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) announced that the 2021 National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate is 98.39%.

This is slightly higher than last year’s pass rate of 98.06%.

According to the IEB, the candidates who passed achieved good enough grades to proceed to further education at one of the three levels:

  • 89.2% of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, compared to 88.41% in 2020.
  • 7.82% qualified for entry to diploma study, compared to 8.14% in 2020.
  • 1.37% achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level, compared to 1.5% in 2020.

Robyn Anderson is among 2,857 full-time and 968 part-time candidates from 238 examination centres who wrote the IEB NSC examinations in October and November 2021. 

“I feel very excited and incredibly grateful to my family, friends and my school. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to achieve all the goals that I had set out for myself,” said Robyn Anderson, a learner from Reddford House Northcliff, who achieved seven distinctions

“I prefer in-person classes because I like the environment of being at school and chatting to people so it was a huge adjustment for me swapping to online learning,” said Anderson. 

“What helped me is that I was able to plan so that I could have a good balance of school work and a social life,” Anderson added. 

Anderson plans on studying Actuarial Science at Stellenbosch University. “I’m excited, I love maths and a good challenge,” she said. 

Robyn Anderson got seven distinctions and said that it was amazing that she was able to achieve all the goals that she set. (Photo: Supplied)


Ndumiso Mbangeleli from Reddford House The Hills attained five distinctions. Speaking to Daily Maverick, Mbangeleli said:, “It feels surreal that I’ve finally made it.”

Ndumiso Mbangeleli, got five distinctions and will be doing a bridging course in order to study computer science in the UK. (Photo: Supplied)

“Adjusting to online learning was challenging but I managed to stay consistent. At the end of the day, I had to have self-discipline because being at home meant that I had to rely on that,” said Mbangeleli. 

This year, Mbangeleli will be doing a bridging course that will allow him to study computer science at a university in the United Kingdom. 

Reddford House Northcliff is part of seven Reddam House schools across the country. Collectively, the Reddam House matriculants achieved 929 distinctions.

At St John’s College, all 140 matriculants passed with a bachelor’s pass. Alexander Sittmann, who attained eight distinctions, has been included on the IEB Outstanding Achievements list. 

“I’m feeling pretty good about my results even though I was disappointed that I didn’t get the two distinctions I wanted,” said Sittmann. 

Sittmann got 79% for AP Maths and 78% for AP Physics, “which is frustrating” said Sittmann. 

Sittmann, who was deputy head boy, said that his biggest challenge was trying to balance academic work with his leadership roles. “I was doing ten subjects and in leadership roles which meant that I rarely got time to relax and enjoy other things,” said Sittmann. 

Sittmann plans on studying medicine at the University of Cape Town. 

Alexander Sittmann got eight distinctions and plans on studying medicine at UCT. (Photo: Supplied)

“We are exceptionally proud of our students especially because the last two years were changed because of Covid-19. Fortunately, we didn’t lose a day of teaching and we managed to keep them in a strong academic programme, even though we lost other opportunities such as culture and community life,” said Stuart West, the executive head at St John’s College. 

IEB schools are generally well-resourced and come with hefty fees. At St John’s College, for example, the annual fee for high school students is R172, 185. At Reddford House Northcliff, annual fees for grade 12 learners are R124,006. At Reddford House The Hills, grade 12 annual fees are R103,583.

In a statement, Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB said, “The achievement we see in the class of 2021 hides the depth of the struggle and effort that underpins this success. These Grade 12 learners were the true victims of Covid-19. The class of 2021 has had to dig deep mentally and emotionally to find the strength to face the tremendous challenges of a radically changed teaching and learning environment of the last two years. They truly deserve the accolades they receive.” 

Commenting on online learning, Oberholzer said, “There’s no doubt that online learning cannot replace a good teacher in person, however, it is far better than no teacher, and no guidance. With the initial fear of unfamiliar technology now behind us, technology will find its rightful place in the education of our children. If there is one good thing to come out of the pandemic, let it be the value that technology can bring to the classroom and particularly those children currently deprived of a quality education.  Authorities can no longer ignore the necessity for expanding open-access fibre cable networks to provide long-distance, high-performance data networking across the country, particularly in rural areas.”

Matric results for government schools will be announced on Thursday, 20 January. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Lindsay Walker says:

    I and my wife have both taught at IEB schools and have worked as sub-examiners for the organisation. I wish to emphasise that not all IEB schools charge the eye-watering fees you mention in your IEB article today. Many IEB schools charge fees which are affordable by ordinary middle class families.

  • Hannah le Roux says:

    My daughter is in this amazing cohort of Covid era IEB matriculants. Anne Oberholzer’s comments ring true, it was a really hard time for young people. As she notes, for these relatively privileged scholars it was their access to data and devices, and their flexibility and passion of their teachers that brought them through. I suspect we will see the difference that made when the government school results come out tonight.

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