Class of 2015: more pass their exams

6 January 2016

South Africa's class of 2015 was the largest number of pupils to have passed their exams yet, with nearly 800000 pupils sitting their final school examinations.

The pass rate of 70.7% was a drop of 75.8% over the previous year, but 455825 candidates passed the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the total number of candidates who registered for the November 2015 NSC exams was 799306, comprising 667925 full-time candidates and 131-381 part time candidates. -

"This is 110000 candidates more than those enrolled for the 2014 NSC examinations."

Motshekga clarified that the pass rate would have been 74% if "progressed learners" were included in the figure. Progressed learners are those who have failed Grade 11 more than once and who are then promoted to Grade 12 without meeting the criteria to pass.


There was an increase in the number of passes in mathematics and physical science, although the pass percentage in these subjects decreased.

The number of pupils who passed maths rose from 120523 in 2014 to 129481 in 2015, while the number of learners who passed physical science rose from 103348 in 2014 to 113121 in 2015.

"In 2015 there were 3711 more distinctions achieved by learners than in 2014," the minister said. "In 2014, 157913 distinctions were achieved, whereas in 2015 161624 distinctions were achieved.

"In the 12 key subjects (including mathematics, physical science and accounting) the total number of distinctions increased from 59981 in 2014 to 63348 in 2015."

Provincial pass rates

  • Mpumalanga 78.6%, almost the same as in 2014
  • North West 81.5%
  • Free State 81.6%
  • Gauteng 84.2%
  • Eastern Cape 56.8%, down from 65.4% in 2014
  • KwaZulu-Natal 60.7%, down 9% from 2014
  • Limpopo 65.9%, down from 72.9% in 2014
  • Northern Cape 69.4%, down from 76.4% in 2014

Motshekga said the department must pay particular attention to KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape if it wanted to improve the overall NSC national picture.

"If we don't do this, our basic education outputs and outcomes may not improve to the extent (that is) necessary."

Source: South African Government News Agency


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