GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Plettenberg Bay and Knysna's Class of 2019 made the area proud with their top matric results not only massively exceeding the Western Cape pass rate, but also the national results.
The two coastal holiday towns' schools managed an 87.5% pass rate while 82.3% of learners in the province made the grade. Nationally the 2019 pass rate is 81.3%.
This is also a major improvement on last year's results for the area when Plett and Knysna schools managed an 81% pass rate.
The two areas also showed that they are the best in the region, exceeding the Eden and Central Karoo District pass rate of 84.1%.
The district was one of eight in the Western Cape to obtain a pass rate above 80%. Only one district, Metro East with a pass rate of 78.3%, dropped below the 80% mark.
The province however dropped to fourth place in the country from last year's third spot, having been edged out by Free State at 88.4%, followed by Gauteng with 87.2% and North West with 86.8%.
Six of the seven schools in the two towns showed improvement on last year's results with Wittedrift High School the only school in the area obtaining a 100% pass rate.
Wittedrift High School principal Jeremy Marallich said he was very proud of his school's achievement and attributed the success to dedicated teachers and learners, and support from the Western Cape education department. There was great elation among the youngsters who gathered at the school to collect their marks.
Concordia High School in Knysna improved from 69.6% in 2018 to a whopping 81.9% while Knysna Secondary also edged up from 74.2% to 76.1%. Percy Mdala High School showed massive improvement from 70.9% in 2018 to 82.9%. The only Knysna school that dropped slightly was Knysna High School that went from 97.2% in 2018 to 95.1%.
In Plettenberg Bay Murray High School improved from 80.3% to 82.4% while Plettenberg Bay Secondary School showed huge improvement from 74.5% to 93.8%.
Western Cape MEC for education Debbie Schäfer said she was very pleased with the performance of the Western Cape. "Especially given the difficulties that we are facing as a result of inadequate funding and safety concerns. I would like to congratulate all our learners, teachers and administrative staff, who have put in an immense effort," Schäfer said.
She added one of the highlights was that the province had maintained an above 80% pass rate, achieving an increased percentage pass rate from 81.5% in 2018 to 82.3% in 2019. Another highlight for Schäfer is the increase in Bachelor passes from 42.3% the previous year to 43.6% in 2019. "The Western Cape also achieved the highest percentage of distinctions in the country."
She added however that the pass rates needed to be seen in the context of the retention rate from Grade 10 to 12. "It can be tempting to cull learners between Grades 10 and 12 in order to enhance the matric pass rate. If we consider Grade 10 enrollment in 2017 (both public and independent schools) to those that wrote I am pleased that we have seen an improvement in retention of those entering Grade 10 in 2017 and those entering to write the NSC in 2019 from 62.9% in 2018 to 64.3% in 2019."
'We bring you the latest Garden Route news'