The province recorded an improved 76.2% pass rate, an increase of 3.4% from 2017.
The overall pass rate for the 796542 candidates increased from 75.1% in 2017 to 78.2% in 2018, an improvement Motshekga applauded saying the country should be proud.
She said 72043 matriculants passed with Bachelor passes, 141700 passed with Diploma passes and 86700 passed with Higher Certificate passes, with about 157000 distinctions recorded.
Without progressed pupils (those who get a condoned pass to Grade 12 after having failed Grade 11 more than once), the country would have achieved a pass rate of 79.4%.
Meanwhile, teacher unions in the province had mixed reactions to the results.
Nomarashiya Caluza, Sadtu’s provincial secretary, said the union welcomed the improved results.
“Even if it is 1%, it is still an improvement,” said Caluza. She added that the increase was expected despite the challenges teachers faced last year.
Caluza attributed the improvement to various programmes that had been implemented.
She said the union expected the results to improve in future to the point where KZN would surpass the 80% mark and be able to compete with the top provinces in the country.
The union said there were challenges, though, such as the high teacher-pupil ratio and the non-filling of vacancies in the province.
Scelo Bhengu, the president of the Educators Union of South Africa, said the results were not a true reflection of the situation teachers in the country faced.
“We do not applaud them as children are not performing to their full potential,” he said.
Bhengu added that the only way the results could truly improve was for the needs of teachers to be addressed.
He said the results had been adjusted to improve politicians’ chances at this year’s national elections.
Allen Thompson, the president of the National Teachers Union, said he was thrilled with the results and also attributed them to the hard work of the province’s teachers.