Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

7 January 2014

South Africa: Analysis - Motshekga's Class of 2013

Photo: GCIS
South African schoolchildren.

analysis

It was Nelson Mandela who said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Twenty years after the formal end of the Apartheid, education remains one of the most telling gauges of change in South Africa. The just-released matric results have great relevance in this context.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga hailed the class of 2013 as, "The best class since the advent of democracy." President Jacob Zuma had similar words of congratulations. He noted that the improvement in the number of learners who had earned Senior Certificates has culminated in the highest pass rate since the dawn of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

"Our youth are proving that South Africa has changed for the better, our children have improved opportunities to do better," Zuma said in a statement released shortly after the results were revealed.

And the numbers certainly seem to affirm these words of celebration.

A total of 562,112 learners sat for their matric exams last year. Of those, 439,779 satisfied the requirements for a Senior Certificate. Those numbers then translate to a national pass rate of 78.2 %, a significant increase from last year's 73.9 %....

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