South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, announced a 76.4% matric pass rate for 2021, an improvement on 2020’s pass rate of 76.2% though still far below the 81.3% attained in 2019 by the last group of candidates to write exams before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The department’s director-general, Mathanzima Mweli, highlighted this fact when lauding the class of 2021, pointing out that “when lockdown started, they were in Grade 11. Their schooling was disrupted in many ways”. “This class had to learn at home, away from their peers, away from their teachers. This class needed psychosocial support … as many of them lost their parents, teachers and caregivers”. Mweli added that with 733 198 full-time candidates, this was also the largest class in the history of matric exams.