Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently released the 2015 matric exam results, revealing a pass rate of 70.7%.
While many people celebrated the figure, Equal Education highlighted that a large percentage of students drop out before they write the final exams.
“For broader perspective, one should use a cohort matric pass rate,” said Equal Education.
The cohort matric pass rate is the percentage of learners in grade 2 who pass matric 11 years later – which for the class of 2015 sits at 42.2%.

Matric not good enough to get a job

For the 455,825 pupils who did pass their matric finals, 166,263 met entry requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
The remainder may consider going straight into the workplace, but trade union Solidarity has painted a mixed picture for these candidates.
Solidarity recently released its Matric Report 2015, which stated that “a matric certificate does not seem to have a significant effect on a person’s chances of finding employment”.
“Among working people with matric as their highest qualification, only some 30% earned more than R6,400 a month in 2011,” stated Solidarity, basing its evidence on Census data.
“According to the report, the South African labour market had already been swamped for decades by a vast oversupply of people with little or no training.”
The report found that, according to the 2011 data:
No matric
  • Fewer than 5% of workers with no education earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • 10% of those with incomplete secondary schooling, without post-school education, earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • Almost 30% of those with matric earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • 13% of matric holders earned more than R12,800 per month.
Diploma or certificate
  • 50% of people who do not have matric, but who hold a tertiary diploma or certificate, earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • 25% earned more than R12,800 per month.
  • 50% of people who hold a matric certificate and a certificate or diploma earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • 30% earned more than R12,800 per month.
  • 80% of those with a university degree, higher diploma, or equivalent qualification, earned more than R6,400 per month.
  • Over 50% earned more than R12,800 per month.
  • 68% of those with an honours degree or higher earned R12,800 per month.
  • 38% earned more than R25,600 per month