Thursday 25 February 2021


SOUTH AFRICA — The matric pass rate of pupils who wrote their final examinations behind bars in 2020 was 86,3 percent, the department of correctional services (DCS) said on Thursday.

Delivering the outcomes of the matric exams at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre in Bryanston, Johannesburg, justice and corrections minister Ronald Lamola boasted that this was higher than the national pass rate of 76,2 percent.

Lamola said this was the highest pass rate that inmates had achieved in the past five years.

“Educational attainment in DCS has been significantly improving, looking at the pass rate that inmates have been achieving over the years. Indeed, one can say that we have registered significant strides,” he said.

In 2015 the DCS recorded a 72,9 percent pass rate. In 2016 that dropped to 72,1 percent. In 2017, there was a significant jump to 76,7 percent while in 2018 it rose to 77,3 percent. In 2019 the figure reached 82,6 percent and now it has climbed to 86,3 percent.

“Our learners also obtained a total of 76 distinctions and we also produced 78 bachelor’s passes, which is a minimum requirement for admission to university for a bachelor’s degree,” said Lamola.

The best-performing inmate was Lwazi Chamane who is incarcerated at the uSethubeni Youth Centre in Durban.

He obtained an average of 80,6 percent and bagged four distinctions, in isiZulu, life orientation, history and tourism.

“It should also be noted that uSethubeni centre in Westville registered 19 inmates, all of whom passed and are eligible to study for (a bachelor’s) qualification,” said Lamola.

“Five schools (out of the 17 which service the DCS) achieved a 100 percent pass rate. We are pleased that our results increased even under the 2020 unprecedented conditions. We congratulate our learners and teachers for their resilience,” said Lamola.

Education behind bars was not spared the wrath of Covid-19. The DCS said it lost two of its teachers to the virus. Studying in the pandemic, class attendance was also disrupted, leading to inmates being steered towards virtual learning.

“One of the approaches we implemented and intensified was access to online tutoring and learning by inmates. Most of the inmates responded positively to this approach. They ably confronted significant challenges and Covid-19 could not hinder their desire to do well in their studies,” said Lamola. — Times


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