File Photo

Cape Town – The Western Cape Education MEC on Tuesday welcomed the news that the province came out tops in the 2015 matric results, but said it was concerning that it was the only province to have recorded an improvement from the previous year.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said in a statement that she was “extremely happy”with the provincial results from the 2015 National Senior Certificate examinations.

“It was with great pleasure and pride that I learnt that the Western Cape this year achieved the highest pass rate in the country, at 84.7% – an increase of 2.5 percentage points from 2014.

“We are concerned, however, that we are the only province to have recorded an improvement in the pass rate, as this is a worrying development for our country.”

She said that in the past, the Western Cape government had always urged education commentators and the general public to look beyond the matric pass rate, and interrogate the statistics more carefully.

“Improving quality is as important as improving the quantity of passes,” Schäfer said.

“Given the many challenges our education system faces, improving the quality of education is only possible through sustained interventions in our schools, and the hard work of the matrics, their teachers and district officials. It is a multi-year process.

“We are pleased that this effort is reaping results.”

Schäfer said the Western Cape measured matric results using a set of indicators of quality education “that look far deeper than merely the pass rate”.

She said the 2015 results showed significant improvement recorded against each of these indicators.

“Every single learner who passed matric in the Western Cape passed with access to higher education,” she said.

“The Bachelor pass rate (learners who passed with access to studying for a degree) has increased again, to 41.7%, the highest in the country. The remainder of successful matriculants all passed with access to study either for a diploma or higher education certificate.

“There is also growth in the number of candidates writing and passing mathematics and physical science,” she added. “Importantly, this is both in numbers and percentage.”

Schäfer said the province had also again seen an improvement in schools with high proportions of historically disadvantaged learners