Improvement in South African matric results, but concerns over quality

South Africa has recorded its highest high-school pass rate since achieving democracy 20 years ago, but concerns over the value of the diploma owing to the relatively low pass requirements and the daunting job prospects of graduates have dampened the good news.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on Monday announced a 78 percent pass rate for the 2013 matric class — a 6 percent improvement over last year. Opposition political parties and business representative bodies have criticized the fact that only a 30 percent score on the final exam is required to obtain a diploma.