The president placed emphasis on the large improvement in the matric pass rate of 2013 for not only surpassing that of its previous year, but also being the highest matric pass since democracy was introduced to South Africa in 1994.
“This is the best matric class since 1994,” Zuma reported.
“Education will take this country to prosperity which is why it is one of the government’s top five key priorities. We are therefore pleased to note this consistently upward trend in the matric results, with the pass rate from going from 62.6% in 2008, dipping to 60.6% in 2009 only to rise to 67.8 in 2010, 70.2% in 2011 and 73.9% in 2012.”
The president also said 2013’s matriculants form part of a special category as they pioneer a way into a 20 year old free and democratic South Africa in 2014.
“Our youth are providing that South Africa has changed for the better, our children have improved opportunities to do better.”
An amount of 175 000 bachelor’s passes was set a goal by the government in 2009 to be reached by the year 2014, and with last year’s significant improvement, the president relayed confidence that the target is attainable.
“Clearly the target of 175 000 bachelor’s passes is reachable given that the class of 2013 has achieved 171 755 passes. We urge the 2014 class to work very hard to bring us closer to the target.” Zuma said.
Zuma urged parents and communities to support matriculants regardless of their achievements.
“Government wishes to convey a strong message of support to those who did not perform well during the examinations. All is not lost. It is not the end of the world. The youth must know that they can still improve their results and go on to achieve the career of their dreams.”
“We urge parents and teachers to support the children during this time. Let us work together and provide unconditional support to our young ones, they are all special.”
President Zuma relayed reassuring information for those learners who passed matric yet failed to meet the requirements of universities. He reminded the youth of the abundance of institutions that offer a range of learning courses and the large number of Further Education and Training colleges nationwide.
Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and her team received praise from the president for contributing extensively to the progress made and overall achievements.