Pretoria - The Department of Basic Education will take "urgent steps" to ensure the National Senior Certificate system is improved.
Announcing the 2009 matric results, Education Minister Angie Motshekga said subjects like Mathematics, Physical Science and Accounting would be given more attention this year.
"I am concerned with the overall performance evident in this examination. My ministry will take purposeful steps to address the challenges revealed in this examination."
Motshekga said all nine provincial Education MECs will in February hold a special Council of Education Ministers (CEM) meeting to discuss the technical report of the 2009 National Senior Certificate results.
She said issues to be discussed at the meeting would include provincial reports on the performance and challenges in the 2009 national certificate examinations and proposed interventions to support the implementation of the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) in Grades 10 and 12.
Motshekga said they wanted to focus on quality rather than quantity, but they were disappointed with the pass rate.
Some 60.6 percent of matrics passed the 2009 exams, this indicating a decrease of about 2 percent down from 2008. In 2008, 62.5 percent of matrics passed.
Motshekga said although the shift was marginal, it was very disappointing.
"This is depressing ... saying we are unhappy is too mild. We've had sleepless nights and agonised."
All results for all provinces, including Mpumalanga which had been embroiled in a paper leaking saga, were published and available to students today.