The Free State had the highest number of matric pupils who passed their 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, but it was Gauteng which obtained the highest percentage of pupils who qualified for entry to study for a degree.
This according to the official NSC results released by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga in Midrand on Tuesday evening.
The national pass rate for the 2019 NSC was 81.3% - a 3% increase from the previous year.
The Free State had the highest pass rate at 88.4%, followed by Gauteng with 87.2%, the North West with 86.8% and Western Cape with 82.3%.
KwaZulu-Natal obtained 81.3% and Mpumalanga 80.3%. The Northern Cape ranked seventh with 76.5% followed by the Eastern Cape with 76.5%, while Limpopo ranked ninth with 73.2%.
The NSC exams itself saw 788 717 candidates register to write, comprising full-time and part-time pupils.
Of that, 504 303 full-time and 106 385 part-time candidates sat for all seven subjects, writing 147 question papers at 6 870 examination centres nationwide.
Of the 504 303 full-time pupils who wrote the exams around the country, just over a third qualified for entry to study for a degree (36.9%).
Gauteng had the highest Bachelor's passes at 44.5%, followed by the Western Cape with 43.6% and Free State with 39.1%. The Western Cape had the highest percentage of distinction passes.
Gauteng also had the most schools (31) achieve a 100% pass rate between 2015 and 2019. The Western Cape was next with 27 schools and Free State third with 18.
On a dismal note, KwaZulu-Natal was home to the six schools in the country where less than 40% of pupils passed. Mthambo High School in Nungwane saw just 10% of pupils pass.