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WCape achieves the highest bachelor’s passes

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The Western Cape has achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country, with 39.1% of learners. Last night, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the class of 2017 had scored a 75.1% pass rate, a 2.6% improvement from 2016. The Western Cape had an 82.8% pass rate nationally, third highest in the country behind the Free State and Gauteng.

Western Cape MEC Debbie Schafer says while there is a tendency to focus solely on the provincial pass rate, the Western Cape has put particular emphasis on the retention of learners in the system, increasing the numbers of Bachelor’s Degree passes as well as improving the pass rates for mathematics and science.

In Mathematics, the Western Cape achieved the highest pass rate, achieving 73.9%. In Physical Sciences, the Western Cape achieved a pass rate of 74.0%.

“More learners in the Western Cape are taking maths and science as a percentage of the cohort, something that we have been encouraging over a number of years. While the overall cohort in the Western Cape was 2000 learners smaller than 2016, the number of learners taking maths and science only decreased by 703 and 329 respectively,” said Schafer.

Three Western Cape learners, all from public schools, have taken top positions in the country.
• Janke Van Dyk from Bellville High School was the top achiever in the country,
• Matthys Carstens from Durbanville High School was placed second in the country,
• Erin Solomons from Rondebosch Boys High School was place 3rd in Physical Science.

All eight education Districts achieved over 80%. The Overberg district achieved 10th place in the country, out of 70 districts with a pass rate of 87.7%.

According to the Western Cape Education Department, when considering the NSC results, one has to consider the numbers of learners passing through the system and ultimately passing their matric.
“We believe that retaining more learners in the system and giving them the opportunity to pass the NSC is more important than “losing” learners along the way so that schools can achieve a higher pass rate,” said Schafer.

“We believe that this practice defeats the purpose of education for these children and is unacceptable. It denies them the opportunity to succeed, no matter what challenges lie before them.”

“When considering the NSC pass rate, we must consider the retention of learners by comparing the number of learners enrolled for the NSC exams (and the number who actually wrote the full exam) to the number of Grade 10 learners enrolled two years before that. This is known as the “Real Matric pass rate unlike the overall “pass rate”, the “real matric pass rate” factors in the retention rate.”

Schafer said the ‘real matric pass rate’ for the 2017 NSC show a very different ‘ranking’ to that announced by the National Minister of Basic Education last night.

“It is clear that the Western Cape has retained the most learners in the system between Grades 10 and 12 – with a retention rate of 12.8 percentage points higher than Gauteng, and 22 percentage points higher than the Free State.

“While it is always nice to be Number 1, in the Western Cape our focus will remain on whether we have increased the numbers of candidates passing, and the quality of those passes.”
The WCED is currently analysing the results to determine which schools did not perform well and in which subject areas.

Another concern, said Schafer, is “the ongoing failure” of other provinces to conduct competency testing for their Matric markers. The WCED introduced this in 2011 to improve the standard of marking of the NSC examinations, and we have done it every year since then.

“This is done to ensure that we appoint markers who demonstrate that they know how to mark, including interpreting candidate responses, and have a good understanding of the content of the subject they are marking.” VOC


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