Majority of candidates across the Western Cape wrote their first 2014 NSC examination today

Debbie Schafer, MPP

Western Cape Minister of Education

The 2014 NSC examination period kicked off with many candidates across the Western Cape writing their first NSC examination – English Home Language, English First Additional Language and English Second Additional Language.

The numbers for full-time and part-time candidates registered to write these subjects are as follows:

Subject Full-time Part-time
English First Additional Language 30150 2329
English Home Language 18790 1266
English Second Additional Language 2 1

I visited my first NSC exam centre at Belgravia High School where 108 candidates wrote their first exam. The school is aiming to achieve a 95% pass rate, compared to 90.1% in 2013.

As the new Minister of Education for the Western Cape Government, I wanted to find out first-hand from candidates how they felt about their first written examination of the 2014 NSC. Learners were confident that the exam went well with the majority of the learners giving the English paper the ‘thumbs up’.

The 1467 candidates will complete the Visual Arts Examination. The 9665 full time and 1596 part time candidates will write the Accounting Paper, as well as Xhosa. The numbers writing Xhosa are as follows:

Subject Full-time Part- time
Xhosa First Additional Language 621 20
Xhosa Home Language 11937 130
Xhosa Second Additional Language 77 1

While we are always cautious in making predictions, we are confident that we will increase the number of passes this year.

In the Western Cape, we have placed great emphasis on ensuring that we keep as many learners in the school system as possible for as long as feasible, and we are particularly proud of the improvement in our rate of retention.

In 2013, we had a record number of 40 558 candidates passing the NSC with a provincial pass rate of 85.1%. In 2014, we hope to grow even further the number of candidates passing with a stretch target of 43 000 passes.

If we achieve this target, it will be the highest number of passes ever achieved in this province since the inception of the NSC. It will also represent an increase of over 9 000 candidates passing since 2009 – a clear indication that the retention of learners within the system has improved significantly.

While we are excited about the record ‘quantity’ of passes that we can achieve this year, we are also confident that we will sustain the improvement in the quality of our results.

In 2013, in the Western Cape, 40.9% of candidates achieved access to Bachelor Degree study.

This figure was the highest in the country. Our target is, once again, to achieve over 40%, while at the same time increasing the number of passes.

A further indicator of success is the reduction of underperforming schools. An underperforming school is a school that has achieved less than 60% in the NSC.

In the last five years, this province has managed to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 85 in 2009 to 23 in 2013 – a significant achievement. In 2014, we expect the existing underperforming schools to decrease by around 50%, in line with our goal of decreasing the number of underperforming schools in this province to zero.

I have every confidence in our matrics, who have worked hard throughout the school year.

I wish them all the best of luck and am sure that they will do both themselves and this province proud.