South Africa’s School Pass Rate Improves for Third Year

South Africa’s school pass rate rose for a third consecutive year, strengthening the government’s drive to improve skills and boost jobs in the economy.

The pass rate for final-year students at state schools climbed to 73.9 percent last year from 70.2 percent in 2011, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in comments televised by the South African Broadcasting Corp. today.

Poor education standards have been a constraint on growth in Africa’s largest economy, with companies battling to hire skilled workers in a country with a 25.5 percent unemployment rate. Half of all children who start school drop out before completing the 12-year curriculum, while literacy and numeracy rates are among Africa’s lowest, according to the government. Pass rates fell for six consecutive years through 2009.

Under apartheid, South Africa’s black majority received only a rudimentary education from poorly trained teachers at over-crowded schools. The African National Congress-led government has struggled to rectify the situation since taking power in all-race elections in 1994.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at

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