Matric results subjects decline

Image credit: Pixabay/ejlindstrom

Matric results: Three subject areas facing alarming declines

The post-mortem from the Class of 2019’s matric results continues. Despite having plenty to celebrate, there have also been a few concerns raised.

Matric results subjects decline

Image credit: Pixabay/ejlindstrom

There have been some magnificent achievements from the Class of 2019, but all that glitters is not gold this week. The recently-released matric results for the previous academic year may come with the highest-ever collective pass rate, but there are a few concerns lurking underneath that gloss.

What subjects “fared the worst” in the 2019 matric results?

Considering that there are 18 schools who saw a 0% pass rate this year, and that the “real pass rate” – which accounts for all students that started Grade 1, rather than just the ones who made it to Grade 12 – sits at 39%, even the record-breaking numbers have vast room from improvement. When we look deeper down, into the subject areas which are struggling, the need for further intervention becomes more apparent.

SubjectNumber of students who
sat the exams in 2019
Number of students
who passed in 2019
Percentage of students
who failed in 2019
Accounting80 11062 79621.61%
Mathematics222 034121 17945.42%
Physical Sciences164 478124 23724.46%

Matric results: Subjects facing an alarming decline


  • There’s been a 40% drop in students sitting these exams since 2015
  • Over 10 000 fewer students took accounting exams compared to last year, with 2 700 fewer “passes”.
  • In fact, 2019 saw the lowest number of students pass their accounting exams in the last five years.


Physical Sciences

  • There are 8 000 fewer learners taking these exams compared to last year.
  • The topic saw 3 700 fewer passes at matric level than it did in 2018.
  • The total number of entrants – 164 478 – was the lowest recorded in the last five years.

DA suggest Education Minister Angie Motshekga should resign

Nomsa Marchesi is the Shadow Minister of Basic Education. She has expressed her deepest concerns over these facts and figures. The DA representative says that her opposite number in government, Angie Motshekga, should consider stepping to allow “fresh minds” the chance save these technical subjects.

“Our job market is facing a huge shortage of engineers – which requires Maths and Science – and health professionals, also requiring Physical Sciences as a high school subject. The declining figures over the last five years provide a clear indication that nothing significant is being done to change this.”

“The lack of improvement in the poor performance of critical aspects of our education system lays at the feet of the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga. The DA believes it may be time for the Minister to step down. This move would allow for fresh minds that will help Mzansi focus on the quality of our education.” 

Nomsa Marchesi