Pass rate a positive step - president
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma hailed the improved 2011 matric pass rate on Wednesday as a "step in the right direction".
"Zuma wishes to congratulate all the matrics who sat for their National Senior Certificate exams in 2011," his spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
"[He] has hailed the ascending pass rate as a step in the right direction."
Some 70.2% of matrics passed last year's exams - up from 67.8% in 2010.
Of these, 24.3% obtained university entrance.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the results in Pretoria on Wednesday.
In 2009, 60.7% of matrics passed the 2009 exams. In 2008, 62.5% of matrics passed.
"We would also like to draw special attention to those matriculants who, even though faced with adverse learning conditions, performed exceptionally well," Zuma was quoted as saying.
"You have demonstrated not only to your peers but to the rest of the country that your circumstances do not determine what you can and cannot do. We wish you well in your future plans."
Zuma sent his well wishes to those who did not pass, saying they should persevere in their second attempt.