South Africa’s matric pass rate: 2008 to 2018

The Department of Education has announced the overall matric result for 2018, revealing a pass mark of 78.2%.

This marks a 3.1 percentage point increase from 2017, which continued an upward trend which started in 2016.

Education minister Angie Motshekga delivered the results for the National Senior Certificate, on Thursday evening (3 January 2019) noting that over 800,000 learners sat the exams, including 625,000 full-time learners, and approximately 176,000 part-time candidates.

This was the largest cohort to sit the exams, she said, and was also the first to write for 12 new subjects.

South Africa’s reported matric pass rate has improved significantly over the past decade, climbing from 62.5% in 2008. During this time, the education system has changed a couple of times.

The Class of 2018, was the fifth cohort to be exposed to the CAPS curriculum.

Under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the matric pass rate started to increase, with 2014’s drop of 2.4 percentage points in the rate marking the first time in the Zuma years that the matric pass rate recorded a decline. This was followed by a 5 percentage point drop in 2015.

However, this was followed by increases in both 2016 and 2017.

The table below shows how the reported matric pass rates have changed between 2008 and 2018.

Year Pass rate Change
2008 62.5% -2.7
2009 60.6% -1.9
2010 67.8% +7.2
2011 70.2% +2.4
2012 73.9% +3.7
2013 78.2% +4.3
2014 75.8% -2.4
2015 70.7% -5.1
2016 72.5% +1.8
2017  75.1%  +2.6
2018 78.2% +3.1

Read: 2018 matric pass rate climbs to 78.2%

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South Africa’s matric pass rate: 2008 to 2018