Learners with special education needs achieved a combined total of 653 distinctions, in the 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga made this announcement at a ceremony held at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), which was joined by the provinces, via video link.
Addressing Monday’s event, Motshekga said out of the 2 161 learners with special education needs who enrolled for the NSC exams, 2 058 wrote the examinations.
“[A total] 1 757 learners with special education needs passed the 2020 exams,” she said.
Of these learners, 943 and 582 of them achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, respectively.
Meanwhile, 204 obtained Higher Certificates while 28 received NSC passes.
“Learners with special education needs achieved a total of six hundred and fifty-three (653) distinctions, including distinctions in the critical subjects,” she said at the ceremony held at GCIS head office in Pretoria.
In the year that COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, a total 725 034 candidates registered for the 2020 exams of which 607 226 were full-time candidates, and 117 808 were part-time candidates.
More girl learners sit for NSC exams
The Class of 2020 had more girl learners than boys.
“There were 72 030 more girls than boys, who enrolled for the 2020 NSC examinations; and there were 66 626 more girls than boys, who actually wrote the 2020 NSC examinations.
“Overall, there was 75.8% girls, and 76.7% boys who passed the 2020 NSC exams,” said the Minister.
More girls than boys achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, as well as passes with distinctions.
These distinctions include passes with distinction in critical subjects such as Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics, and Physical Science.
Maintaining the pass rate
Despite a strenuous academic year, the Class of 2020 maintained the above 70% pass rate seen in recent years.
“The Class of 2020 must be commended for maintaining this trend. The 2020 NSC overall pass rate, with the progressed learners included, stands at 76.2% – a decline of 5.1% from the record pass of 81.3% achieved by the Class of 2019.
“This represents a record of 440 702 passes – an increase of 7.5% in the number of passes from 2019. Without the progressed learners, the overall pass rate stands at 81.2% – a 1.1% decline from 2019.”
Motshekga lauded the high quality passes achieved this year, particularly the number of Bachelor and Diploma passes, the overall pass mark, and the passes with distinctions, even in critical subjects.
“We are of the strong view that, had it not been for the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 could have been the best performers, since the inception of the National Senior Certificate. We are indeed proud of the Class of 2020, which persevered against such monumental challenges that our system was never exposed to in the past.”
The Minister said those who sat for the exams characterised the resilience of the system, “which withstood an unprecedented test of administering an examination of the largest number of candidates; faced by the worst pandemic in human history”.
Motshekga said the 2020 academic year will be remembered as the year that, not only presented major health challenges, but a year when the entire world was engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government with its education departments and its strategic partners, worked very hard to strike a balance between saving lives and the 2020 academic year.
The matric exams, which concluded on 15 December 2020, saw 147 question papers being set.