Passing matric is a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood

“Every positive change – every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness – involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.”

These inspirational words by Dan Millman, American author and lecturer in the personal development field, are pertinent to the Gauteng Class of 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) learners.

Excelled against the odds

This class excelled despite service delivery challenges brought about by a myriad of issues. These are Covid-19, inadequate water supplies, the persistence of the apartheid‐era spatial planning, basic infrastructure like roads and electricity.

All these challenges marked an important rite of passage in their personal life. And despite those odds stacked against them, they obtained a pass rate of 85.4%. This is an increase of one percentage point from the previous year.

It most certainly took a lot of effort to study hard when many have so many societal distractions. With such brilliant results, our learners are set to make a mark in future education and work. If they continue to perform with the same zeal, dedication and commitment, this is guaranteed.

Preparations for exams

In preparation for the successful examination period, much work had to be done by our officials throughout the province. This was to ensure that the 2023 NSC exams conduct, administration and management was fair, credible and had integrity.

As the Gauteng department of education (GDE), we partnered with law enforcement agencies. This was to provide daily assistance in securing question papers and answer books. And to also necessitate a smooth distribution and collection of exam materials. 

A total of 188,074 candidates registered to write the 2023 NSC examination. This figure  comprised 133,285 full-time candidates and 54,789 part-time or repeating candidates.

Secondary School Improvement Programme 

To ensure that our matriculants were exam-ready, we implemented subject-specific interventions throughout the year.  This included enrolling our learners in the Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP). The project was a major strategic intervention for progressed and high-risk learners. The SSIP has been running for a number of years on Saturdays and during school holidays. It is aimed at to sustain the improved Grade 12 performance over the past years.

As part of our final push strategy to ensure the preparedness of learners, we also implemented Matric Revision. These camps were meant to provide opportunities for intensive study and drill sessions across the province. They were aimed at increasing content coverage as well as intensive exam practice and preparation.

We had a total of 1, 013 examination centres that were eligible to administer the full-time 2023 NSC examination. Of these centres, 737 were public and 276 independent schools. A total of 93 examination centres were activated on the system to administer the 2023 NSC examination for candidates.

 GDE Roadmap for 2019 – 2024

We congratulate Gauteng learners for the remarkable accomplishment. This accomplishment can be traced to the GDE Roadmap for 2019 – 2024. Its focus has been to unlock the energy and creativity of Gauteng learners. This by building their skills and capacities to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality.


The key priorities for the roadmap include:

  • Prioritising policies and strategies targeting the achievement of quality teaching and learning outcomes. This was done by enhancing the skills and competencies of educators. These include the school management team comprising the school principal, deputy principal and subject heads;
  • Making two years of Early Childhood Development (ECD) compulsory for all children. Working to achieve universal access to two years of ECD. This would include two years of compulsory quality pre-school enrolment for four and five year olds before Grade 1.
  • Appointing adequately qualified educators whose subject content knowledge is at required levels. Develop their skills and enforce accountability;
  • Replacing unsafe and inadequate school buildings and sanitation facilities;
  • Implementing a mass apprenticeship programme across the economy;
  • Implementing new innovative ways of assessing learners through the National Integrated Assessment Framework. This aimed at Grades 3, 6 and 9 as a replacement for the Annual National Assessments;
  • Amending the curriculum and providing the necessary resources to prepare learners for the 4th Industrial Revolution; and
  • Continuing to replace inappropriate school structures and sanitation facilities.
The rite of passage

 The 2023 NSC examinations were a milestone to open opportunities for future endeavours. A reminder that this was a stepping stone. They were also a test run for challenges to come during the following years.

Passing matric is the rite of passage that marks a special meaning. A special emotion, a steppingstone between childhood and adulthood.

To the Class of 2023: Congratulations for reaching this important point in your lives. Celebrate your achievements. Follow your heart and your dreams.

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