Education Minister Naledi Pandor has hailed an increase in the number of black and women graduates, saying they represent achievements in widening access and encouraging equity in institutions of higher learning.
As a result, the minister will deliver a keynote address at the launch of "Trends in Higher Education in South Africa since 1992 to 2001", an analysis of the National Learner's Records Database in Pretoria on Wednesday.
According to the Education Department, the number of graduates produced by the country's universities had doubled from over 400 000 in 1992 to over 900 000 in 2001.
And according to South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) statistics undertaken recently, there had been an increase in the number of qualifications awarded to African, Indian and Coloured students and women.
"The proportion of qualifications awarded by the universities to these students increased from 37.1 percent in 1992 to 53.7 percent in 2001 while those awarded by technikons increased even more rapidly from 24.7 percent in 1992 to 74.8 percent in 2001," said the department.
It further explained that by 2001 at least 56 percent of university qualifications were obtained by women, although they remained under-represented in the fields of engineering sciences and technology.
SAQA had developed a database to capture and store information on both qualifications and educational achievements.
The database holds records of all citizens who have educational achievements from senior certificate level upwards.
At present, there are 823 000 records on the database and this is about to increase to almost 6 million when the senior certificate data since 1992 is uploaded.
Currently 8 400 qualifications and 8 480 unit standards have been registered and captured on the database.