“In grade 12, the overall pass rate has increased from 58.8 in 2013 to 68.9 percent in 2014,” Masutha told journalists at Goodwood prison in Cape Town.
The number of prisoners sitting for the exams — both full-time and part-time pupils — in 2014 was 185.
“The department of correctional services has placed education and training at the centre of its rehabilitation agenda,” said Masutha.
This was part of efforts to eliminate illiteracy, under-qualifications, and provide technical skills and competencies required for employment and self-employment.
The country currently had 14 full-time prison schools, compared to one in 2009.
The top performing school was the Emthonjeni Youth Centre in Baviaanspoort, with a 100 percent pass rate.
St Albans School in Port Elizabeth and the Umlalati Learning Centre in Barberton, Mpumalanga, shared second spot with an 83 percent pass rate.
The Usethubeni Youth School in Durban-Westville had the third highest pass rate, and boasted the two top achievers.
Convicted robber Njabulo Gumede was the country’s top performer, followed by Sbonelo Mphumulo, a convicted rapist serving an eight-year jail term.