2016 matric results

Education Department hits back at DA’s culled pupils claim

The Department of Basic Education has hit out at the DA’s claim that weaker pupils were deliberately removed from the schooling system to keep the overall matric pass rate up. “What makes this claim… disappointing is that the department has in fact done the exact opposite by progressing learners who have failed the Further Education and Training phase more than once,” it said in a statement on Saturday. “So in essence we have pushed an additional 65 673 learners through the system who sat for the November examinations, this at the risk of a drop in the percentage.

“The progressed learner policy contradicts [DA MP Gavin Davis’s] claims sharply.”

High ‘dropout rate’

Davis said on Friday that “close analysis of the 2016 matric results reveals a very high ‘dropout rate’, leading to speculation that some learners may have been ‘culled’ to inflate the matric pass rate”. He said the “true” matric pass rate could be only 40.2% if weaker pupils who may have been removed from the system are counted. According to the department’s figures, 1 100 877 pupils enrolled for Grade 10 in 2014, but only 610 178 wrote Grade 12 in 2016, he said in a statement.

Davis said this meant that 44.6% of pupils either dropped out of the system or remained stuck in Grade 10 and 11. “But we need to remember that it is possible for a school, district or province to push up their pass rate simply by ensuring that fewer weaker learners write the matric exams,” claimed Davis.


The department said the claim did not take into consideration “any number of possibilities”. “If learners in 2014 failed Grade 10 they would not be reflected in the 2016 cohort of Grade 12s; if they failed Grade 11 they would not be there; if they left the system and went to attend a TVET college they would not be there.

The explanations are quite frankly endless.” The department said it is aware of the situation regarding learner dropout rates and that it loses approximately 30% of learners between Grade 10 and 12. “The reasons vary from social-economic reasons, youth criminality, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, death, attending alternative education institutions, employment, as well as dropping out due to the frustration of continued grade repetition.”


Now read: The shocking numbers the matric results don’t show[2]


  1. ^ News24 (www.news24.com)
  2. ^ The shocking numbers the matric results don’t show (mybroadband.co.za)

The shocking numbers the matric results don’t show

An analysis by the DA’s shadow minister for basic education Gavin Davis shows that the “dropout rate” of pupils between grade 10 and matric is over 50% in multiple provinces. This figure is often ignored when the matric results are announced by the Department of Education, and Davis speculates that learners may have been “culled to inflate the matric pass rate”. “1,100,877 learners enrolled for grade 10 in 2014, but only 610,178 enrolled for grade 12 in 2016.

This means that 44.6% of learners either dropped out of the system or remain stuck in Grade 10 and 11,” said Davis. Provinces with the highest “dropout rate” are:

  • Northern Cape – 54.4%
  • North West – 52.7%
  • Free State – 51.6%

“It is possible to see from these figures how a fixation on the pass rate can mask the actual performance of the education system.” “This is because the pass rate… doesn’t take into consideration the learners who didn’t make it to matric.”

Davis said it is possible for a school to “push up their pass rate simply by ensuring that fewer weaker learners write the matric exams”. If the number of students who entered grade 10 in 2014 are taken into account when calculating the matric pass rate for 2016, the pass rate falls below 40% for many provinces.

Free State the “best” province

The official matric pass rate for 2016 was 72.5%, up from 70.7% in 2015. The Free State achieved the highest provincial pass rate, scoring 93.2%.

The Western Cape came second, scoring 87.7%. Davis said when looking at the pass rate which takes the dropout rate into account, though, the Free State falls sharply. “In 2014, there were 55,293 learners enrolled in grade 10 in the Free State.

But, in 2016, only 26,786 of those learners actually wrote matric. If we look at the learners in the Free State who obtained a matric pass (23,629) and divide them by the number of learners who enrolled in Grade 10 in 2014, we can calculate a real pass rate of 42,7%.” Using the same method, the Western Cape’s “real pass rate” stands at 57.7%

“I have written to Minister Angie Motshekga to request an investigation into the high dropout rate,” said Davis.

The table below shows the country’s “real pass rate”, taking the dropout rate into account.

Class of 2016
Province Grade 10 (2014) Grade 12 (2016) Dropout Rate Grade 12 Passed “Real” Pass Rate
Northern Cape 22 034 10 041 54.4% 7 902 (78.7%) 35.9%
North West 67 734 32 045 52.7% 26 448 (82.5%) 39.0%
Free State 55 293 26 786 51.6% 23 629 (88.2%) 42.7%
Eastern Cape 154 220 82 902 46.2% 49 168 (59.3%) 31.9%
Limpopo 189 170 101 807 46.2% 63 595 (62.5%) 33.6%
KwaZulu-Natal 264 816 147 648 44.2% 98 032 (66.4%) 37.0%
Mpumalanga 94 528 54 251 42.6% 41 801 (77.1%) 44.2%
Gauteng 174 471 103 829 40.5% 88 381 (85.1%) 50.7%
Western Cape 75 791 50 869 32.9% 43 716 (86.0%) 57.7%
National 1 100 877 610 178 44.6% 442 672 (72.5%) 40.2%

Now read: Matric exams are rigged – Jansen[1]


  1. ^ Matric exams are rigged – Jansen (mybroadband.co.za)

Matric results 2016 – how to get them via SMS

The matric results will be announced by the Department of Education on 4 January, with learners’ individual results set to be released on the morning of 5 January. One of the ways students can get their marks is by using the SABC Education SMS and USSD services.

SMS service

Learners can send their ID number and exam number via SMS to 35658. Both numbers must have 13 digits to be accepted.

SMS messages are charged at R1 per SMS.

USSD service

Learners can dial *120*35658# and put in their ID number and exam number to register.

Once the results are available, users will get their results per subject.

Now read: Big Matric 2016 upward mark adjustments[1]


  1. ^ Big Matric 2016 upward mark adjustments (mybroadband.co.za)