Johannesburg — A total of 73.9% of the matriculants who sat for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in 2012 passed their exams.
"It gives me great pleasure to announce that the matric pass rate for 2012 is 73.9%... A hearty congratulations to the matrics," said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Wednesday.
This represents an improvement of 3.7% from 2011's pass rate of 70.2%.
Motshekga, who announced the 2012 NSC results at the SABC's Radio Park in Auckland Park, said significant measures had been taken to encourage the momentous improvement in the results.
"To the learners who have excelled, the world is your oyster... To those who did not, there is room for improvement," she said, reminding learners of the various options that were available to them to help improve their results.
Motshekga assured the nation that it was by no means an easy feat to pass matric nowadays as suggested in some media reports, saying the pass requirements would be posted on the department's website.
Echoing Motshekga's congratulatory message, Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty said officials were clear about what needed to be done to help further improve the results.
"There is a lot that needs to be done and we have to buckle up [and get it done]. I'd like to congratulate the class of 2012 for their achievements... For those who didn't make it, there surely is a second chance," said Surty.
In 2012, 623 897 candidates sat for the NSC exams compared to 496 090 in 2011. More than 7.8 million question papers were printed and sent to exam centres, while 7.4 million scripts were distributed to marking centres as part of the national exams.
The Department of Basic Education had earlier welcomed the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training's declaration that the 2012 NSC exams were fair, valid and credible.
The body, also known as Umalusi, is tasked with the development and management of a sub-framework of qualifications for general and further education and training and for the attendant quality assurance.
In 2012, 26.6% of Grade 12 learners qualified for Bachelor's studies - an increase from the year before when the figure was 24.3%.
Furthermore, there was noteworthy improvement in the key subjects. The Maths pass rate for 2012 stood at 54%, up from 46.3% in 2011. Physical Science passes went up to 61.3% from 53.4% in 2011.
The pass rate in Accounting stood at 65.6%, while a 75.8% pass rate was recorded for Geography. Economics stood at 72.8%, while the passes for History were at 86%.
Motshekga thanked the department's social partners for their continued support, saying they were ready to do even more in the coming year to ensure the continued upward trend for the national pass rate.
"We are ready for 2013... We will continue to focus on the 3Ts - text, teachers and time," she said.