MEC Debbie SchA�fer on outcomes of 2017 National Senior Certificate in the Western Cape

Minister SchA�fer congratulates successful learners in the Western Cape

On the release of the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC), I would like to congratulate the 82.8% of learners in the Western Cape who passed the 2017 NSC examination.

While there is a tendency to focus solely on the provincial pass rate (which is an important indicator), we must also consider other important indicators of success so that we can then determine if the system is ultimately improving or where it needs to be improved.

Traditionally, this Province has put particular emphasis on the retention of learners in the system, those achieving access to a Bachelor's Degree, and pass rates for mathematics and science.

We are thus especially pleased that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor's passes in the country, with 39.1% of learners achieving this quality pass.

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%. This places us second in the country to the Free State in this subject for 2017. We congratulate the Free State on this achievement as well as taking first place in the country in terms of pass rate.

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.

We are also incredibly proud of our learners who have yet again taken top positions in the country. They are:

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.

It is particularly noteworthy that each of these learners attends a public school.

A hearty congratulations to Janke, Matthys and Erin. We are very proud of you.

Congratulations to all of our 8 Education Districts who achieved over 80%. I would especially like to congratulations also to the Overberg district that achieved 10th place in the country, out of 70 districts with a pass rate of 87.7%.

The Western Cape Government has said year on year, that 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.

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.

We are thus disappointed that the Minister made no mention at all of the inclusive basket of criteria that has been piloted for the last two years. Last year, taking into account these quality indicators, especially retention, the Western Cape was the Number 1 performing province.

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.

Source: Government of South Africa