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78,2% of matrics pass exams

The latest figure is up from the 2012 pass rate of 73,9 percent.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday announced that 78,2 percent of grade 12 learners passed the National Senior Certificate exams in 2013. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday announced that 78,2 percent of grade 12 learners passed the National Senior Certificate exams in 2013.

The latest figure is up from the 2012 pass rate of 73,9 percent.

The best performing province was the Free State with a 87,4 percent pass, followed by the North West with 87,2 percent.

Gauteng, the best performing province in 2012, came in third with 87 percent.

The Western Cape had an 85,1 percent pass.

The two worst performing provinces were Limpopo with a 71,8 percent pass and the Eastern Cape with 64,9 percent.

Mpumalanga had a pass rate 77,6 percent, KwaZulu-Natal 77,4 percent and the Northern Cape had a rate of 74,5 percent.

Motshekga also announced that both maths and science had seen improvements.

The maths pass rate rose from from 54 percent last year to 59,1 percent in 2013.

The actual results of the more than 500,000 full-time and 130,000 part-time registered matriculants will be published online and in print media on Tuesday morning.

Western Cape pupils will only be able to receive their results where they wrote their exams at around midday on Tuesday.

Online results for the Western Cape will only be available on Wednesday.

SHARP CRITICISM

Earlier on Monday, Motshekga dismissed criticism that the matric pass rate is deceptive and doesn't reflect the quality of education offered in classrooms.

She says the experts she listens to are pleased with the progress being made.

The minister says more pupils are earning higher quality passes, with marks in the higher percentiles indicating an upward trend.

She also says there is constant progress being made in the subjects of maths and science.

Motshekga says despite what the critics say about the quality of education offered in schools across the country, great strides were made in the past five years.

She says her ultimate goal is a 100 percent matric pass rate.

But education experts warn that many pupils who leave school are still not well equipped for further studies or the workplace.

Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State Jonathan Jansen says the state of education will only improve once those in charge acknowledge the scale of the crisis.

"We can do much better than this and the truth is, while there is this denial in officialdom about the state of the crisis in education, there is nothing you can do about it. Blind people don't know they are blind and there's nothing you can do to make them see."

Speaking shortly after the release of the results, education analyst Professor Graeme Bloch says now is not the time to be too cynical.

"These kids have worked really hard and no one can stand in front of them and say, 'Guys, your matric certificate is worth nothing'. Let's admit things are not perfect, but 78,2 percent shows some improvement."

He says the rise in the pass rate between 2010 and 2013 is not suspicious.

But Bloch agrees with many other critics that the pass rate doesn't necessarily indicate a stronger education system.

He specifically hit out at the 30 percent pass mark requirement, saying it's worth nothing.

Last week, the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) announced a matric pass rate of 98,6 percent, an improvement from 2012's 98,2 percent.

For Eyewitness News' feature on life after matric, click here.