File Picture: Matthew Jordaan

The matric pass rate is up for the fourth year running, with a pass rate of 73.9 percent for the first graduating class of “born frees”.

In a speech announcing the results this afternoon, education minister Angie Motshekga said the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams were “the ultimate measure of achievements of twelve years of schooling”.

Over 377 000 pupils passed the exams this year, up by nearly 30 000 from last year when the pass rate was 70.2 percent.

In 2010, the pass rate was 67.8 percent, and 60.6 percent in 2009.

The Minister said a number of measures had been put in place to improve the standards of education in South Africa.

“We're encouraged by the notable improvements in the education of children and society,” said Motshekga. “Sustained improvements on matric results are a consequence of systematic interventions for strengthening and raising performance in all levels of the system.”

Last week, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education (Umalusi) said the 2012 were fair, valid and credible.