The matric results were announced by the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and this revealed that the matrics across the country achieved a 76.2% pass rate. This is about a 5.1% drop from the 2019 matrics.
The Department of Basic Education noted that while the overall pass rate declined each year, those who passed in 2020 performed better than those in the class of 2019.
Education Unions, such as The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teacher's Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) commended the class of 2020 for their overall matric results.
Executive Director of Naptosa, Basil Manuel spoke to eNCA echoing the sentiment of Minister Motshekga that they had expected a bigger drop in the pass rate considering the challenges learners were faced with in 2020 due the Covid-19 pandemic.
Manuel says they are pleased with the results as it is in a range that they were hoping for. He has praised teachers and learners for their hard work.
"But the resilience against all odds, had to go back to school, fear, anxiety and of course the support of cohort of teachers that many people will not realise how much sacrifice they made… weekends, holidays..." said Manuel.
Sadtu has commended the work learners and teachers put in and its spokesperson Nomusa Cembi made a special mention about those who come from disadvantaged schools with a lack of resources.
"More praise goes to the rural township and no-fee paying schools for attaining the most quality passes. These schools are the ones who lack resources and were hardest hit by COVID-19," said Cembi.
Manuel says that now the focus must be placed on the current matrics of 2021 who have lost out on a lot of teaching time and will have to catch up to complete the 2021 academic year.
"The challenge is going to be on our teachers... we are worried about burnout and the psychological impact this is going to have on our teachers," said Manuel.
Learners who were in grade 11 in 2020 only attended school for 50% of the year due to disruptions caused by Covid-19.
Manuel says that a lesson should be learnt from this so that the current Grade 11 learners are not left in the same situation.
He says that online learning must be improved so that the current grade 11's can engage with the core subjects when they are not at school.