Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday (3 January) welcomed the improved matric pass rate, saying he was particularly pleased with the maths result.
"Of particular significance and excitement to us in the department of higher education and training is the increase in the pass rate for mathematics," he said in Pietermaritzburg, according to a copy of his speech.
"The increase has direct implications for enrollments in faculties where mathematics is a pre-requisite within the higher education training sector."
Nzimande was also pleased with the improvement in marks for Physical Science, Geography, History, and technical subjects.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Wednesday (2 Janaury) that 73.9% of matric pupils passed in 2012. In 2011 it was 70.2%.
Nzimande said the improved pass rate meant that 15,280 more matriculants had obtained a bachelor's pass compared with last year, a 12% improvement.
He urged those who had not passed matric not to be despondent and look at other avenues for further learning.
"No one must lose hope because they have not passed. Learning does not begin and end with a matric, but is rather a life-long experience with various options within the post-school system."
They should, he said, take a look at vocational courses offered by Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.
An estimated 180,000 students were expected to enrol at universities, and about 100,000 at FET colleges.
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