With 17 days to go before Grade 12 learners sit for this year’s final examinations, Debbie Schäfer, MEC for Education, has ensured that they are ready to go.Schäfer said this after she visited Grade 12 learners at Fezeka Secondary School in Gugulethu, who have been part of the ‘Spring Holiday Programme’ 157 learners from the school are due to write the National Senior Certificate Examinations (NSC) 2017.She motivated and encouraged the learners to work hard and studying to ensure that they get good results at the end of the year.“Keep focus on your studies. Work hard and be role models to other learners who are following you. I wish you the best of luck,” she said.Schäfer said the year was full of challenges, but the department managed to pull through.“We are very ready for the examinations. It has been a very tough year for the department. We have financial difficulties. The number of learners in schools is growing as we welcome a number of them from the Eastern Cape and Gauteng and yet we do not get enough money from the national department. But we are trying to keep as many children as possible in schools. Bullying and drugs in schools are a big worry for us. We have put some activation in place such as Safe Schools as results. I am impressed to see that some parents are also taking an initiative in fighting this,” she added.In 2015, the school achieved a pass rate of 62.1 percent (140 learners) and in 2016, the school achieved a pass rate of 69.3 percent (127 learners).The school hopes to achieve a pass rate of 75 percent this year. Kevin Hockey, school principal, said the school is also ready and that they will achieve good results.“There has been a great change after I arrived in the school (in January). The school is the happiest environment for me in my career. We are ready for the examinations,” Hockey said. Sisipho Mawu, Grade 12 learner, said she was confidant for getting good results at the end of the year.“I am going to pass with good results. I study hard and I do not sleep at night. I am ready for the examinations. I want to study towards Physiotherapy next year,” Mawu said. During these school holidays, the Western Cape Education Department (ECED) has organised holiday study programmes for learners from 160 high schools, with over 10 000 NSC candidates attending the ‘Spring Schools’.