The national pass rate for the 2013 National Senior Certificate has increased by 4.3% to 78.2%, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday night. The figure is the highest since 1994.
Announcing the highlights of the Class of 2013 matric results at the SABC studios in Auckland Park, Motshekga commended metriculants for their hard work and sleepless nights. Earlier, Motshekga acknowledged a Limpopo parent and school principal and a grandparent for the roles they played in the success of their children.
"I congratulate the Class of 2013 for being the best class since the advent of democracy, and encourage every learner to go further than their predecessors and strive to excel in higher education, the workplace and in your general contributions as South African citizens.
"Last year, I told the Class of 2012 that the world is their oyster and I want to repeat this to the Class of 2013.
"Indeed the world is your oyster, go out there and make the best of this acquired qualification," she said.
The results in numbers
Motshekga said after 562 122 full-time candidates sat down to write the 2013 matric exams - an increase of over 50 000 from 2012 - the 78.2% pass rate was a 4.3% increase from the 2012 pass rate of 73.9%.
Over the past four years, the pass rate had been on a gradual increase - from 60.6% in 2009, 6.8% in 2010 and increased to 70.2% in 2011.
"In 1995, when this cohort entered Grade 1, the national pass rate percentage was 53.4% and 19 years later, the national pass rate percentage is 78.2%.
"When we came into office [in 2009], we had targeted 75% [pass rate] by 2014. Now at 78.2%, we have surpassed our target with a year to go," Motshekga said.
How provinces fared
The Free State led the pack and overtook Gauteng as the best performing with an overall pass rate of 87.4%, a 6.3% improvement from 2012's 81.1% average.
Gauteng achieved 87.2% pass rate, up by 7.7% points from 83.9% in 2012.
It was followed by the Western Cape, which recorded a pass rate improvement of 2.3% from 82.8% in 2012 to 87% this year.
Mpumalanga achieved a 77.6% pass rate, up from 70% in 2012 - an impressive improvement of 7.6 percentage points.
Motshekga said KwaZulu-Natal improved its pass rate from 73.1% in 2012 to 77.4% in 77.4% in 2013 - a 4.3% improvement.
Western Cape, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had pass rates of 74.5%, 71.8% and 64.9% pass rates respectively.
"The relatively good performance of Limpopo in the National Senior Certificate is encouraging. Compared to the relatively poor performance of Limpopo primary school learners, it is clear that Limpopo's secondary schools are doing an especially good job of producing quality results compared to the performance in lower grades," added Motshekga.