South Africa


Limpopo: No schools with 0% pass rate for first time in five years a bright spot in gloomy matric results

Limpopo: No schools with 0% pass rate for first time in five years a bright spot in gloomy matric results
Polly Boshielo, MEC education and Dr. Dickson Masemola, MEC for public works in Limpopo with the top three performers. Delicia Davhana from Thohoyandou Secondary School, Dihochi Ramotlou from Hoerskool Noorderland in Polokwane and Sibongile Sithole from Harry Oppenheimer Secondary School outside Mokopane. 21.01.2022. Picture: SUPPLIED

Still bottom of the log, but for the first time in five years Limpopo’s National Senior Certificate results don’t have any schools with a 0% pass rate, according to the province's MEC of Education.

This year, Limpopo recorded the lowest matric pass rate among the nine provinces, with 66.7%. But for the first time in five years, the province didn’t have any schools with a 0% pass rate, said Polly Boshielo, Limpopo’s MEC of Education at the 2021 matric results briefing in Polokwane.

“0% schools have been a constant feature in our National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in the past four to five years. It is important to indicate that we do not have a 0% public school [pass rate] in 2021 as compared to 2020 where there were seven such schools,” said Boshielo. 

“This is a step in the right direction and the Department shall continue to provide targeted support so that no school ever gets 0% in their NSC results,” said Boshielo. 

Although the province’s matric pass rate declined by 1.5% from the 2020 matric class, Boshielo commended the 2021 matriculants for their “continued resilience”. 

Blind learner Lethabo Maleka (19) from Setotlowane Secondary School in Mankweng receives his certificate for being a top achiever. Lethabo is the number one learner countrywide from special schools. He wants to become a lawyer. (Picture: SUPPLIED)

In 2020, the province’s matric pass rate was 68.2% which placed it seventh among the nine provinces. 

Commenting on the latest matric pass rate, Boshielo said that it was “better than the 2017 performance of 65.1% where teaching and learning conditions were relatively normal.” 

Read more on the 2021 matric results: South Africa’s matric pass rate improves slightly to 76.4% despite ‘extremely difficult circumstances’

This time around, the class of 2021 obtained more bachelor passes than the class of 2020. Out of the 105, 101 candidates who sat for the 2021 NSC examination, 28,075 achieved bachelor passes compared to the 22,907 bachelor passes achieved by the class of 2020, which is an increase of 22.6%, said Boshielo. 


There were also more diploma passes, from 18,588 in 2020 to 23,533 in 2021. Higher Certificate passes have also increased from 12,134 in 2020 to 18,516 in 2021.

In total, Limpopo’s class of 2021 achieved 17,751 distinctions across different subjects, which is an increase of 1,707 from the 2020 class, said Boshielo. 

In terms of a gender breakdown, 11,444 distinctions were achieved by female candidates and 6,307 by males, Boshielo said.

Boshielo added that 2021 was also the year that the province registered the most progressed learners for the NSC exams. Progressed learners are those who have failed the grade but are nevertheless advanced to the next grade, owing to the department’s policy that doesn’t allow a learner to fail a phase more than once, explained Boshielo. 

15,065 progressed learners wrote the examinations, and 4,950 passed, giving a pass rate of 32.9%.

“This demonstrates that only three out ten progressed learners succeeded in the NSC Examinations. If the results were to be without progressed learners, the pass percentage for the province comes to 72.4%,” said Boshielo. 

Boshielo also acknowledged the top three performing districts which obtained an above 70% pass rate. These were:

  • Capricorn South with a 73.6% pass rate;
  • Mogalakwena with a 72.0% pass rate and;
  • Waterberg with a 71.3% pass rate.

Despite the difficult learning conditions exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Boshielo applauded schools for doing what they could to support learners. 

“The odds were heavily stacked against them and despite all the harsh circumstances, they persevered. This is evident in the increase in quality of results as expressed in both the bachelor and the diploma pass rates as compared to the 2020 NSC results,” said Boshielo. DM

[hearken id=”daily-maverick/9041″]


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    Appalling. The kids who repeated a year weren’t much helped by more of the same. Limpopo’s education is it’s shame and a form of child abuse to leave them hopeless in the hands of incompetents. Time to care about children and give them their constitutional rights. This is 2022 not 1822

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.