Free State learners took top honours as they produced the highest number of learners who passed their Grade 12 examinations.
With the province breaking the national threshold of a 90 percent pass rate, MEC for Education Tate Makgoe is aiming for higher results in 2017. The target for the pass rate for the province is 95 percent for the class on 2017.
The Free State had aimed for a 90 percent matric pass rate for 2016, but exceeded this to 93,2 percent.
“We have broken our own record, and this is highly significant for us. We are the first province to reach the 90 percent benchmark.
“If you compare us to Independent Education Board schools, there’s only about 6 percent difference between us,” he said.
MEC Makgoe looked back to four years ago in 2012, when the province achieved a pass rate of 81.1 percent for the first time.
He said the increase in the pass rate is “a lesson for us as Free Staters, that if we pool resources and work together many problems that we have can be overcome”.
“For the first time the Free State department of education is a model for the rest of South Africa. There was no magic, just hard work. We focused on what needs to be achieved, and we achieved it,” said MEC Makgoe.
Some of the programmes that provincial department undertook to assist matriculants with their studies included running revision programmes at community radio stations with highly qualified and successful subject advisors, hosting study camps for learners and giving the pupils motivational talks.
Acting Premier and MEC for Treasury in the province, Elsabe Rockman acknowledged the “culture of collective ownership,” in the Free State, adding that they have taken responsibility and made efforts to reach this success.
“Never underestimate the power of small provinces with small resources; we can compete with the best in the country and the world, and beat them at that,” he said.
In preparation for reaching the 95 percent pass rate for the class of 2017, the provincial government took about 3 000 learners from across the province to camps in December to prepare them for the year ahead.