A total of 98.2% of students who wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations under the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) have passed.
"Last year's pass rate [was] 98.15%," said the IEB in a statement on Saturday.
"All the candidates that passed achieved a mark that would permit them to register at tertiary institutions ... 83.6% of the cohort achieved entry to degree study, 12.96% qualified for entry to diploma study and 1.64% achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level," said the IEB.
The IEB is a national independent assessment agency which offers examinations for various client schools separate from the state and provincial examination boards.
The agency is accredited by education monitoring body, Umalusi. More students wrote the final exams under the board this year.
"An additional 1 212 learners wrote the IEB examination compared with 2011 ... [a total of] 8 959 full time and 534 part time candidates from 183 schools across the country wrote the examinations in 2012," said the IEB.
The increase came after nine new institutions joined the board and more students were registered in existing schools. The majority of the students came from the Gauteng province.
The province has 90 schools affiliated to the IEB and had registered over 5 000 students for the NSC exams. The IEB said it would also be releasing the results of learners from both state and independent schools who participated in the Advanced Programme (AP) courses.
"These two courses in Mathematics and English have been benchmarked as equivalent in demand to UK A-levels and provide talented learners with an opportunity to explore at an in-depth level the areas in which they have a specific talent or interest," explained Anne Oberholzer, head of the IEB.
She said 1 568 candidates wrote AP Mathematics with a pass rate of 84%. AP English was assessed for the first time this year after the 2011 pilot project and 502 candidates wrote the subject – 97% of them passed.
The Independent Schools Association of South Africa (Isasa), the Association of Christian Schools International (Acsi), the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) and the South African Board of Jewish Education (SABJE) are associations affiliated to the IEB. Schools that write the IEB NSC examination are the Ashton Colleges, the Centurus Colleges, the Curro schools and the Reddam House schools. – Sapa