Matric improvement 'must be sustained'
Johannesburg - The improvement in the matric pass rate for 2010 must be sustained, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in Pretoria on Thursday.
"There is no turning back now. The increase is a significant achievement we can write home about and be proud of," she said.
"I take my hat off to the class of 2010."
Some 67.8% of matrics passed the 2010 exams, up from 60.7% in 2009.
However, there were still many schools below the national benchmark which needed attention and support, the minister said.
"We will work closely to make sure they reach that national benchmark."
Motivated by the World Cup
She said the pupils had been motivated by the FIFA World Cup.
"The class of 2010 was simply distinctive... the World Cup was not a disruption. It motivated schools, parents, and officials to go the extra mile."
She described the pass rate as a "remarkable achievement" and said it was possible that the 2010 public sector strike might have robbed the department of its targeted 70% pass rate. The department had aimed for a pass rate of 70% for 2010 and a 10% improvement by 2014.
Intensive study camps were organised and it was indeed "business unusual" during the strike, she said.
"The exams went smoothly and the department consistently worked to ensure credibility of exams."
The process of checking exam results was conducted fairly and the results were credible, she said.
She said although there had been a decline in the pass rate in previous years, the department had committed themselves to change that in 2010.
"It is pleasing to know that there were no major challenges like leakages," she said. The 2009 results were marred by matric examination paper leaks in Mpumalanga.