Tomorrow, all over the country, anxious matriculants will be looking up their marks to see if their hard work paid off last year.
Over the past decade, the national matric pass rate has steadily increased from 60,6% in 2009, to 78,2% in 2018. The national pass 2019 is expected to increase slightly, reaching 80%.
These numbers refer to the National Senior Certificate examinations, determined by what has been gazetted by the Department of Basic Education.
Meanwhile, News24 reports that a confirmed total of 98,82% of pupils passed the 2019 Independent Examinations Board (IEB) National Senior Certificate exams. The IEB s a private agency offering support and input to independent schools who wish to use them for a fee.
While this all sounds great in theory, the increase in successful matriculants has a lot to do with certain changes that have been made to the examination process, pass marks, and achievable outcomes over the years.
For example, in 2005, it was necessary to achieve 50% or more in four subjects chosen from the 20-credit NSC subject list to achieve a bachelor’s pass or ‘matric exemption’. Back then, if you needed to write a supplementary exam, you were limited to two, whereas now you can rewrite as many exams as you need.
A further change to the system includes additions to the types of passes or certificates that can be achieved.
BusinessTech breaks down the three types of certificates that matrics can now achieve at the end of their secondary education.
A bachelor’s pass means that you can apply to study at a university or university of technology. It’s the matric pass you need to study towards a higher certificate, diploma, or bachelor’s degree.
To achieve a bachelor’s pass you must:
To obtain a diploma pass you need to achieve 40% in four higher credit subjects, 30% in three lower credit subjects, and you may fail one subject. The diploma pass allows you to enrol for a bridging course at a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college or a diploma course at a university of technology.
To achieve a diploma pass you must:
A matric certificate allows you to study towards a higher certificate. To achieve a matric certificate you need a 40% pass in your home language, two subjects of the seven offered above 40%, and four subjects above 30%. You may fail one subject.
Yes, 30% in four different subjects and you can still pass matric.
That 80% pass rate doesn’t look so impressive now, does it?
There are a number of options for students who don’t meet the requirements for one of the above certificates. These include:
Students who need support can call the Basic Education Department’s toll-free hotline at 0800 45 46 47.
While the pass rates are on the rise, the qualifications obtained aren’t necessarily ideal. While 40% might be enough for the Department of Education, universities demand a 50% minimum mark to pass most subjects. For some subjects, that percentage is higher.
In this sense, we could be facing a ‘quantity over quality’ situation that looks good on paper, but will inevitably impact students in the long run.
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