Picture: Khaya Koko/The Star

Johannesburg - The "creme de la creme" of the country's public schooling were lauded by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who challenged the top matriculants to take the country out of underdevelopment.

Motshekga was speaking in Midrand, Joburg, at a breakfast briefing on Thursday to celebrate the matric class of 2018's top achievers.

The minister stressed that the breakfast was meant to celebrate not only the achievers but also parents, caregivers and teachers, whom Motshekga hailed as integral to the development of children.

However, the minister issued a challenge to the star learners.

"This (achievement) puts a huge responsibility on your shoulders because it means you will take our country forward. We are expecting the best from you.

"You are going to take us out of the underdevelopment. We can't be a third-world country forever," Motshekga asserted.

The final results of the national pass rate are expected to be released on Thursday evening by Motshekga.

This follows Thursday's release of the Independent Examination Board's 99% pass rate, amid public calls by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi that there should be one national exam for both public and private schools, as opposed to the current arrangement where each sector writes different exams.

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The Star