Limpopo still home of worst performing schools despite improved pass rate

Though Limpopo is the most-improved province in the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results, it is still home to the worst performing schools over the past five years.

Improved pass rate

Limpopo improved its pass rate by 7.4% to 79.5% last year. This is from 72.1% in 2022. But the only two schools in the country which have achieved a less than 40% pass rate for five consecutive years since 2019 are situated in the province.

Mokgoma Matlala Secondary in the Sekhukhune South district and Madithame Senior Secondary in the Sekhukhune East district are the country’s worst-performing schools.

The schools serve impoverished communities in the predominantly rural province.

Out of of 15 matriculants, only one passed

Mokgoma Matlala, a quintile 2 school, achieved a pass rate of 6.7% in the 2023 exams, only one of 15 pupils who wrote the exams passed. In 2022 the pass rate was 3.1% with only one out of 36 pupils who wrote the exam successful.  

Madithame, a quintile 1 – achieved a pass rate of 25.6% last year. The pass rate was 23.8% in 2022 and 29.3% in 2021.

Lowest performing schools in the province

The Sekhukhune East and South districts are also the lowest performing districts in Limpopo with pass rates of less than 75%, the minimum overall pass-rate target set by the Department of Basic Education for schools, districts and provinces.  

But there were some positive statistics that came out of Limpopo. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said Limpopo is one of three provinces that have a higher maths participation rate in no-fee schools. The other provinces are Mpumalanga and North West. Limpopo, along with the Free State, also has a higher pass rate for accounting  in no-fee schools. Motshekga said this while announcing the matric results on Thursday evening in Johannesburg. 

Limpopo had positive statistics too

Motshekga said Limpopo was also one of the provinces that contributed to the total number of 253, 807 distinctions achieved by the Class of 2023.

“The main contributors towards passes with distinctions, were KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Limpopo,” she said.

Consistent and improved performance

“It is remarkable to note that the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo – the three most rural provinces in the country, produced 50.9% of the total bachelor passes. 

“In addition, these three rural provinces produced 39.5% of the total diploma passes nationally.  Therefore, this kind of consistent and improved performance by our three most rural provinces, dispels the myth that quality education, is a character of urban provinces, thanks to the “pro-poor” policies of government,” she said.


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