The 2016 IEB matric results

11021 pupils at 210 schools wrote examinations, pass rate 98.67%

Independent Examinations Board National Senior Certificate 2016

The 2016 Independent Examinations Board (IEB) pass rate is 98.67%, comparable to last year’s pass rate of 98.30%. All IEB candidates that passed achieved a pass that is good enough to enter tertiary study at one of the three levels.

87.61% of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, compared to 85.26% in 2015.

9.83% qualified for entry to diploma study, compared to 11.66% in 2015.

1.23% achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level, compared to 1.37% in 2015.

11022 full-time and 703 part-time candidates from 237 examination venues across Southern Africa wrote the IEB National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in October and November 2016. The increase in the number of examination venues to 237 from 209 in 2015 is due to 10 new schools joining the IEB, as well as the fact that some institutions operate nationally with multiple examination venues to accommodate learners around the country. These are predominantly distance education institutions and operate in a manner similar to UNISA.  

Umalusi monitored all aspects of the 2016 examination process and declared the results as fair and valid. The 2016 IEB examinations have been conducted without any incidents that challenge the integrity of the process or the credibility of the results. 

“The IEB is proud of the achievements of the Class of 2016. With a commitment to hard work over 12 years of schooling, supported by a dedicated cohort of teachers and parents, these learners have achieved the first major milestone in their learning careers. There is also a clear realisation among IEB learners, their parents and their teachers that having the knowledge and understanding that lies behind the results on the certificate is far more important and meaningful for success after one’s schooling. To have a certificate with good results, but not the substance of learning required for success, simply means facing failure at the next step of your learning career,” says Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB.

As the world around us changes, it is inevitable that demands on the education system too will change. The advances in technology place an obligation on teachers to consider new cognitive competencies such as using digital technology to solve problems. Globalisation and the integration of societies also demands that citizens develop appropriate social-emotional skills in order to manage a variety of relationships effectively. 

“The diversity in our society demands from us an acute understanding of humanity and tolerance of difference. The socialisation role of schooling is increasingly as important to the success of our fledgling democracy, as the development of academic skills and knowledge. The social and emotional skills required from our young people have been added to the list of characteristics needed for success such as conscientiousness, persistence, prioritisation and time management. The challenges of our daily lives require more than intelligence and hard work – we need people with humanity, empathy and maturity, who are confident and assertive, but most importantly ethical and generous in spirit,” explains Anne. 

Protecting the integrity of education

The incidence of dishonesty across many education systems is on the increase. In South Africa, the past few years have exposed schools whose interest in cheating far exceeds their desire to equip learners with the skills and knowledge they need. The IEB has prioritised the protection of its examinations from breaches of security as far as possible, using sophisticated technology and emphasising the ethical role that educators must play in building an ethical society. The IEB is conscious that any examination system is only as strong at the weakest link in the integrity chain, and is fortunate to have a strong record in the absolute protection of its examination process.    

“Parents should be vigilant that the school they choose for their children upholds the highest ethical values that they would want their children to subscribe to. There are a number of associations to which independent schools may belong that assure the public of the bona fides of their member schools. Such associations include the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) as well as a number of religious school associations such as the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Muslim and Jewish schools. Groups of schools committed to quality education, associated with the IEB, include the Curro schools, some brands in the Advtech group as well as the REDDAM schools. Furthermore parents should check the registration status of the school with the relevant provincial department of education, and should the school be offering the NSC examination, it is critical for parents to check the accreditation status of the school with Umalusi,” advises Anne.  

Advanced Programmes

The Advanced Programme courses are extension courses in Mathematics, English and Afrikaans. They are available to any learner in South Africa attending either state or IEB schools, who chooses to participate. The assessment has been benchmarked by UK NARIC, the UK equivalent of the South African Qualifications Authority, and are considered equivalent to the UK A-levels. The performance of the class of 2016 in AP Mathematics, consisting of 1407 learners from IEB schools and 1275 learners in state schools has been very pleasing with 87,9% achieving a pass above 40%, compared to 87,7% in 2015. From a total of 652 learners offering AP English, 98,12% achieved a pass mark of 40% and above, while all learners offering AP Afrikaans achieved a mark of 40% and above.

Combined Abitur-NSC 2016

The Combined Abitur-NSC is a qualification offered by the German Schools in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. The qualification consists of five subjects assessed by the IEB and seven subjects assessed by the German Education authorities. Through this government-to-government agreement, successful learners in the Combined Abitur-NSC are recognised by German education authorities for entry to German universities and by the South African education authorities for entry to South African universities. Of the 66 candidates who offered this qualification, all passed with entry to degree study. The IEB sees its involvement with this qualification as a means of keeping South African students in touch with global standards and developments. 

Background for media

The IEB has 11 022 full-time and 703 part-time candidates in Grade 12 in 2016, registered at 237 IEB affiliated schools across the country, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland as follows:


Number of schools

Number of learners






Eastern Cape





Free State



































North West Province





Northern Cape










Western Cape










* includes centres that deal only with part time candidates.

# Some schools/providers have additional examination centres.

The Gauteng numbers include learners registered with three distance learning institutions, which have their head offices in Gauteng. These institutions have both full-time and part-time learners who live in areas across the country. They are registered with the distance learning institution that manages their lesson delivery as well as the assessment requirements and in Grade 12 these adhere strictly to the NSC requirements and are moderated and verified by the IEB. 

The closing date for the application for remarks is 10 January 2017 and the results from remarking will be released on 1 February 2017. The closing date for learners who qualify to enroll for the supplementary examination to do so, is 6 February 2017.

About the IEB

The IEB is an independent assessment agency separate from State and Provincial examination boards operating within the constraints of national legislation and provisions of the national quality assurance body, Umalusi. Umalusi has granted the IEB accreditation for the assessment of the National Senior Certificate and adult examinations at NQF Level 1. The IEB offers examinations for client schools at the Grade 12 level, in line with national policy, based on the National Curriculum Statements and using various forms of assessment, including final summative examination and continuous assessment – i.e. orals, practicals and portfolios.

The School Section acts in accordance with Umalusi prescriptions and the provisions of Higher Education, using professional educationalists who are practising teachers in various subject disciplines. These teachers are active members of IEB Subject User Groups who engage with the curriculum and make recommendations on assessment practice based on real school experience. The IEB offers assessments including international benchmarking tests at other levels to participating schools.

Statement issued by Anne Oberholzer, IEB, 30 December 2016