“Teaching and learning were not easy,” the minister said in her official speech on Monday – a day before the results were officially released.
The pass rate, Ms Motsamai said has significantly dropped in comparison with the past years.
She said 2020 was the last year of writing the JC examinations as per the new curriculum.
For that reason, the 2020 class she said had to be applauded for writing history as it was the last group to sit that examination.
A total of 16 240 learners registered for the examinations which saw an increase of 8 percent against the previous years’ 14 988.
Out of this number, 784 did not sit for the examinations while only 9 226 made the mark.
A total of 157 learners passed merit while 559 got a first class with 5 278 scoring a second class pass and 3 232 passing with a third class.
A record 6 230 learners failed to make the mark, increasing the fail rate by 2.7 percent compared to last year.
The minister said the results show a decline in the pass rate from 62.4 percent to 59.7 percent.
She attributed the sharp decline to the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in several national lockdowns, which in turn disrupted schooling.
Principals, teachers and learners she said were consequently left disillusioned when the scheduled examination time passed.
During the course of the endless lockdowns, some of the learners dropped out of school when their parents lost their jobs due to the pandemic.