News | Opinion
The decline of about four percentage points in the overall pass mark for the 2020 government matric exams is something which could be eagerly seized upon by critics of the government to show the decline of our education system.
But that would not merely be untrue, it would be unfair – especially given the reality that the 2020 school year was disrupted severely by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the lockdowns and restrictions on pupils returning to school – intended to help protect vulnerable teachers and relatives of pupils more than the students themselves – battered the lives of all school-goers, from pupils to teachers and administrative staff.
For more articles, or to view your DBE matric results, click here. The results will be made available at 6am on 23 February 2021.
Even in better resourced schools – and in ones where parents had the necessary digital equipment – online learning was a shock for many.
Children from poorer communities, who did not have ready access to either devices or data, were doubly prejudiced.
The fact that the pass rate – at 76.2%, compared to last year’s of over 80% – was this high is a tribute to the pupils themselves, as well as the tens of thousands of dedicated teachers who had to suddenly adapt to new ways of learning and teaching, outside the classroom environment.
READ MORE: Class of 2020 delivered a praiseworthy performance
Many of those pupils, teachers and administrative staff were also touched by the tragedy of Covid-19, losing family and friends.
As Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Monday, the pass mark was a tribute to all involved and, like the Independent Examining Board’s (IEB) results of the previous week, a heartening confirmation that South Africans, old and young, when faced with the most severe challenges, can rise above them.
The result also shows, as Motshekga said, that our education system is resilient – it did not collapse under the strain of Covid-19.
We salute all of you. You did our country proud.
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