“In the face of great difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, our learners have been resilient; they have done themselves, their families and their country proud.”
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded the matric Class of 2020, describing them as “scholars of courage”.
“In the face of great difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, our learners have been resilient; they have done themselves, their families and their country proud,” Ramaphosa said.
The matric results were announced on Monday by the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The matric pass rate showed a drop from 81.3%, in 2019, to 76.2%.
According to education experts, the 5.1% drop is far less than what was expected due to disruptions made to the academic year, which included school closures.
The Independent Education Board schools also experienced a drop to 98.07% compared to 2019’s 98.82%.
Ramaphosa said last year’s matrics had to prepare for the crucial exam under challenging and highly pressured conditions, necessitating adjustment to the lockdown restrictions as well as extra work and effort.
He thanked the country’s educators, teacher’s unions, school staff and parents for their support to the matrics throughout the school year.
“This support our young people received made all the difference, making it possible for the crucial final year of schooling to be salvaged,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also applauded the 75.8% pass rate among female matric pupils. He said this laid an important foundation for the empowerment of young women in the country.
Ramaphosa said the matric class of 2020 were inheritors of the mantle of the brave generation of 1976.
In tribute to the Class of 2020, he recalled Tebogo “Tsietsi” Mashinini, who at a meeting in Soweto just days before the fateful protest in 1976 delivered a speech to reassure the anxious students.
“Against the greatest of odds our matriculants persevered to write their exams last year; as Tsietsi said that day, let us indeed honour the charge they made,” Ramaphosa said.
The president urged those who did not pass the exam to take advantage of supplementary exams, the DBE’s Second Chance programme and other support mechanisms.