Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has commended the country's education districts, which have shown the most improvement over the past year.
Speaking at the inaugural Education Districts Excellence Awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Thursday, the minister said the continued efforts of schools, learners and government to improve matric results were paying off.
"The year 2014 started off on a very high note, with the Class of 2013 ... achieving the highest results since democracy -- 78.2%. We have continued on that note and I am confident we will continue to do so going forward, especially if we continue this great working relationship with the districts," said Minister Motshekga.
Seventy-one of the 81 districts improved their matric performance, with Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape registering the highest improvement at 11.9%. Dr Ruth Mompati in the North West came in a second close at 11.2%, followed by Waterberg (Limpopo) at 10.5% and Bohlabela (Mpumalanga) at 10.3%.
Thirty-seven districts achieved a result of 80% and above in the 2013 National Senior Certificate.
The leaders of the pack were Sedibeng East (Gauteng) at 90.7%, Ngaka Modiri Molema (North West) at 90.5%, Gauteng West at 90.1%, Overberg (Western Cape) at 90%, and Johannesburg West at 89.6%.
Only seven districts remain in the category of districts performing below 60%. This is, however, down from 10 districts in 2012.
Minister Motshekga noted that districts performing below 65% decreased from 18 in 2012 to only 10 in 2013.
In 2013, three districts improved their results by no less than 7% to get through the 65% ceiling.
Districts performing below 50% decreased from five (5) in 2011 to three (3) in 2012, and zero in 2013.
Seventy-four districts performed at 60% and above and 61 at 70% and above.
Only 10 districts registered a decrease in results ranging between 0.1% and 5.3%.