Correctional Services Minister S'bu Ndebele at the weekend said he hoped to see more prisons become learning centres, which he said would produce much needed skills.
The department on Sunday revealed that 79.2 percent of inmates who wrote matric in 2012 passed.
Ndebele said he plans to keep education in prisons a major priority and hopes to make parts of it compulsory.
"You can be sure that from now on we are not going to release people who are going to be committing more crimes, we're going to be releasing skilled people."
The pass rate inside prisons in 2011 was 66 percent.