Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has celebrated the class of 2019, which achieved an 81.3% pass rate.
Motshekga made her announcement at the Vodacom Dome in Midrand, Gauteng, on Tuesday evening.
She said no province performed below 70%.
From top down, Free State leads the pack, followed by Gauteng, North West, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape tied and Limpopo.
Madelein Dippernaar, the top SA class of 2019 student. She studied at Paarl Gimnasium High, Western Cape.
The Eastern Cape was the most improved province again in 2019.
“I’m ready to leave at 80%. Go tell the president [Cyril Ramaphosa]. I cannot ask for more...” Motshekga said, chuckling.
She said she believed her department had reached the desired stability but warned it would be a “tall order” to maintain the 80% pass rate.
Motshekga said it was the first time for the country to reach an 80% pass rate.
“It is very humbling and heart-warming,” Motshekga said.
Earlier, the department’s director-general Mathanzima Mweli said six out of nine provinces achieved 80% pass rate.
Six education districts in Gauteng, two in Free State, one in North West and Northern Cape were top performers.
The 10 worst-performing education districts are in Limpopo (six), Eastern Cape (three) and Northern Cape.
However, Mweli said the number of zero percent schools increased to 11.
Mweli said 60.4% of the pupils who had started in primary school passed matric.
He said there was an increase in poor schools – those in quintile one to three – scoring above an 80% pass rate.
“This is what the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] calls a ‘silent revolution’ ... these were [formerly known] as dysfunctioning schools,” Mweli said.