Matric: there is still hope for those who failed

Matome Chiloane

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the late Seaparankwe, said: “Do not judge me by my triumphs. Assess me according to the number of times I’ve fallen and gotten back up.”

 These wise words have been playing over and over in my head for the past few weeks as we prepared for the introduction of the 2023 National Senior Certificate by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, on January 18, 2024.

 With 85.4% pass rate nationwide, Gauteng — the most populous province in South Africa — ranked third, behind the Free State, which received 89%.

The result for KwaZulu-Natal was 86.4%. Across the country, 82.9% of the Class of 2023 passed.

The achievements of Class of 2023 become even more impressive considering the various challenges they encountered. These include the Covid-19 pandemic’s ongoing consequences, the loadshedding-related disruptions, and the extra stress and uncertainty it has brought since 2020.

The whole school community at some of our schools suffered with issues related to mental health and safety, some of which led to the untimely deaths of our staff and kids.

 To ensure that the students in the Class of 2023 put up their best effort, we provide targeted support with the intention of giving each student the best
opportunity to achieve. These included textbooks, workbooks, study guides, and extracurricular activities like morning and after-school programmes. There were additional vacation packages available for the fall, winter, and spring breaks. Volunteer tutors were also recruited to help our teachers with content, pedagogical strategies, assessment assistance, and alternative and differentiated ways to divide up the class and teach the material.

ICT interventions were also made available, including radio courses, broadcasts, devices, data, and internet content in addition to virtual classrooms.

The performance of the Class of 2023 is evidence of the concerted efforts undertaken to salvage the academic year and offer outstanding assistance to the students. Ultimately, though, the students should take all the credit for their excellent response given all the challenges they faced.

 For the 2023 NSC exams, a total of 191 664 students registered, of which 132 570 were full-time applicants and 59 094 were part-time. Over 85% of people who took the test passed, while about 15% of those did not pass.

 There is still hope for those who failed. They can still improve their grades. Matriculants who performed poorly in the Senior Certificate and National Senior Certificate matric examinations the previous year are eligible to retake their papers under the Second Chance Matric Support Programme to improve their performance in the subjects they wrote in the examinations.

If candidates show improvement in the themes they previously wrote in an examination in June, they can combine their results to boost their qualification. Applications for the Second Chance programme are being accepted at this time, and they will close on February 9, 2024.

To apply, candidates may register at any of our head, district, or circuit offices.

Those who take the NSC exam between 2008 and 2022 are included in this. Applications can be submitted online at

To help applicants prepare for their exams, the free Second Chance programme provides study tools such as online revision papers, in-person tutoring, and broadcasts on radio and television. Someone should call 116 to speak with a specialist if they didn’t perform well and require psycho-social support.

To the Class of 2023, congratulations on reaching this important life milestone.

  • Chiloane is Gauteng MEC for Education


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