An education expert believes a fundamental problem with South Africa's education system is that not all students are equipped with the basics in primary school.
This comes after the Spectator Index ranked South Africa's youth unemployment rate as the highest in the world.
Of the countries it ranked‚ the Spectator Index said the five countries with the highest youth unemployment were South Africa at 52.8%‚ followed by Greece (36.8%)‚ Spain (34.9%)‚ Nigeria (33.1%) and Italy (32.5%).
South Africa's poor foundation-phase education system has repeatedly been linked to the country's skills shortage.
Education analyst Nic Spaull told SowetanLIVE on Tuesday: "78% of grade 4 children can't read for meaning in any language and 61% of grade 5s can't do basic maths. I think that is where the wheels come off and that's where we should be focusing our attention."
Last week‚ basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that the matric class of 2018 achieved an overall pass rate of 78.2%.
The pass rate is an improvement on the previous year. The class of 2017 achieved a 75.1% pass rate‚ itself an improvement from the 72.5% pass rate in 2016.
In total‚ 790‚843 pupils wrote the 2018 exams‚ either full-time or part-time. It was the fourth-largest group of matrics to register for the final exams.
Spaull has raised concerns about the 2018 matric results‚ especially the high dropout rate of pupils before they reach grade 12. In a tweet last week he promised to keep revealing the truth behind the figures‚ "until minister of education Angie Motshekga starts reporting and emphasising the 400‚000 kids that dropped out of school".
He added that there was no proof of their education status and that these dropouts were "almost certainly unemployed" and don't go on to other education and training (FET) institutions.