South Africa


Eastern Cape: Class of 2021 significantly improves pass rate despite losing 58% of teaching time in 2020

Eastern Cape: Class of 2021 significantly improves pass rate despite losing 58% of teaching time in 2020
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. (Photo: Kopano Tlape / GCIS)

Despite losing 58% of teaching and learning time in Grade 11 through the intermittent school closures due to Covid-19, the Eastern Cape class of 2021 recorded a significant pass rate increase.

For the first time since 1994 all districts in the Eastern Cape recorded pass rates above 65% despite the class of 2021 losing more than half their teaching time in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The province showed significant improvement in its pass rate and moved from nine to seven in the rankings when the national results were released on Thursday evening. 

“For the first time in the  history of our province all our districts are above the national target norm, which is 65%, hence this marvelous performance,” provincial education MEC Fundile Gade said.

The highest provincial pass rate was set by the class of 2019 – 76.5%.

The Eastern Cape education department had implemented an extended-hour programme of morning and afternoon classes and holiday camps to catch up on time lost due to the pandemic. 

Gade said the class of 2021 had lost close to 58% of teaching and learning time in 2020 as Grade 11 pupils. 

The province recorded a 73% pass rate, significantly higher than 2020’s 68%.

Ndzoyiya Mpendulo, from Gobinamba Senior Secondary in Xume Location near Tsomo, secured third place in the national quintile 2 achievement award category. 

Gade said their “progressed learner” initiatives, providing intensive support to children who have struggled academically, has paid off, with 27.2% of progressed pupils (1,946 out of 7,160) passing the exam and 235 obtaining  bachelor passes.

The province’s poorest schools (Quintile 1) had a pass rate of 64.9% and the Quintile 5 schools achieved 93.7%.

The number of pupils passing math literacy dropped by 1.4% from 73.7% to 72.3%.

Gade said the districts too significantly improved their performance, with only three producing pass rates lower than 70%. The province’s two metros, Buffalo City (79%) and Nelson Mandela Bay (78.2%), had the best pass rates.

“The Covid-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to the class of 2021 in their Grade 11 year in 2020 and their Grade 12 year in 2021. This is the first cohort that has sat for the National Senior Certificate Grade 12 exams having studied under Covid-19 environment for two academic years, in Grade 11 and Grade 12, in 2020 and 2021 respectively,” he said. 

The MEC said one of the measures implemented to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 was a 16-week, high-level programme to support Grade 12s, including an analysis of their first-term results.

“The department gave special attention to serial underperforming schools, and district directors were mandated to have accountability sessions and planned interventions with these schools. Districts also had plans to monitor Quintile 1 to 3 schools more than the other quintiles.” 

The department had stepped up counselling and support for teachers and pupils affected by the pandemic.

“Grade 12 teachers were trained by a psychologist via webinar on how to deal with stress and anxiety during Covid-19.”

Gade added: “I am proud to express that no learners were left behind in getting the opportunity to sit for their NSC examinations. The key message to unsuccessful candidates is to regroup and pursue their dreams. To all the successful candidates, the department wishes them all the best in their future endeavors – and make this province and the country proud. The future of this country is in your hands, make it work.” DM


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