In second place is Gauteng‚ which achieved 85.1%‚ the same pass rate as in 2016.
"Traditionally, this province has put particular emphasis on the number of candidates writing and passing the NSC examinations, achieving access to a bachelor's degree pass and passing mathematics and science, as well as the performance of our under-performing schools and the retention of learners in the system", Schäfer said. This, represents a total of 401 435 candidates, who had passed the 2017 NSC examinations.
Although MEC Tate Makgoe and the Free State Department of Education will boast about achieving the best matric pass rate in the country, achieving 86%, but down by 2.2% from 2016, we remain concerned that the real matric pass rate is technically nearly half of that.
Motshekga said it was encouraging that pupils that came from schools with little resources were able to produced impressive results.
Even though the Western Cape saw a drop in its pass rate compared to last year's 87.7 percent, it still secured a place in the top three in the country behind the Free State and Gauteng which respectively managed an 89.8 percent and 86.4 percent pass rate.
"We wish to thank all provinces, especially Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal for the extra support and pointed interventions they gave to their progressed learners".
"If these provinces did not do this, some of the progressed young people, could have fallen through the cracks of the system, due to continuous repetition and ultimate drop-out from the system", Minister Motshekga said.
Registration can be done at either the school or district office in the province.
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She said 4 of the 70 districts achieved pass rates lower than 60%, adding that for the first time, no district has performed below 50%. Just over 28% of pupils achieved a pass that will allow them to go to university.
It called for intervention from the province's governing party.
"Only 49.7% of Grade 10s actually wrote the final National Senior Certificate exams and a startling 37.3% of 2015's Grade 10 learners actually passed".
During Motshekga's address, she said this year's results were a clear indication that teaching and learning in the education sector have improved.
"South Africa is among the worst performers in terms of education internationally, having been placed last in Grade 8 science and second-last place in maths out of 39 countries for the Trends in International Maths and Science Study 2015".
These programmes were meant to improve the access and retention of learners in the system, and improve the internal efficiency of the system.
Of the 2 777 learners with special education needs, wrote 2017 NSC examinations, 906 and 789 of these learners achieved Bachelor and Diploma passes, respectively.