Oprah Winfrey's matrics all pass
Johannesburg - The first graduating class at Oprah Winfrey's school for South African girls are set for further studies after passing their final exams, the board of directors said on Thursday.
The 72 girls together achieved A grades in 188 subjects, David Wylde told AFP.
"This tells us if you take girls from a disadvantaged background and give them a proper and extending education, they will perform superbly well," he said.
Overall, 70.2% of matrics passed last year's exams - up from 67.8% in 2010.
Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that 348 117 pupils passed their exams. Of these, 24.3% obtained university entrance.
There were 496 090 pupils who sat for the certificate.
In 2009, 60.7% of matrics passed the exams, which was just under 2% down from 2008.
About 80 000 matriculants studied part-time.
The multimillion-dollar school south of Johannesburg in Henley-on-Klip - founded with Winfrey's own money - opened in 2007 in a ceremony attended by former president Nelson Mandela.
The initial classes of girls at the school were aged between 11 and 13, chosen after 3 500 applications, with Winfrey choosing the final 152 for their academic and leadership qualities as well as their disadvantaged background.
A few months later, the school was rocked by abuse claims, when a dormitory matron was accused of indecent assault on six girls and a colleague. She was found not guilty last year.
The girls now plan to study everything from medicine and law to arts and engineering. Several have won full scholarships, others are still waiting for decisions on bursaries.
Two are set to attend American universities, eight are headed to schools in other countries, and 62 have been accepted at South African universities.