The Northern Cape Department of Education has confirmed its pass rate target as being 80% for the class of 2017, as opposed to the target of 78,7% in 2016.This is according to the Northern Cape MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, who boasted about the province having the most-improved pass percentage in the country for 2016 (an improvement from 69,3% in 2015). Bartlett spoke at the pledge-signing ceremony for the National Senior Certificate Examination (NCS) at the Tetlanyo High School in Galeshewe on Friday (13/10).She placed the ball in the court of the 10 518 full-time candidates, of which 2 315 are progressed learners, to fulfil the mammoth task of improving the pass-rate percentage.Bartlett elaborated on the measures put in place by her department to ensure that learners are well-prepared for the 2017 NCS. “It is also very important to warn you against accepting answers that are imposed on you by anyone,” Bartlett warned sternly.“We hope that this pledge-signing ceremony will make you aware of the dangers of any irregularities and salvage you from the frustrations of waiting for the long processes of investigations and hearings.”The examination was expected to commence on Monday (16/10) with Computer Application Technology, and conclude on Wednesday, 29 November.All candidates will sit for NSC examinations on 24 October for English Home Language and English First Additional Language.The Northern Cape has registered 141 NSC centres, which include six independent centres and one correctional services centre. According to Bartlett, a total of 138 chief invigilators were appointed and trained for this purpose.“The province will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that examination irregularities are prevented, especially acts of dishonesty and the possession of unauthorised electronic devices like cell phones. “The department is doing in-house printing under strict security measures. The packing, boxing and distribution of question papers are done per district, per school, per paper. Security measures are brought in to track each and every question paper printed.”A total of 1 020 markers in all fields are reported to have been appointed earlier this month for the quality marking of answer scripts, starting from Friday, 1 December. The Northern Cape will release its results on 5 January 2018, following the release of the national results on 4 January. The matric awards will follow the provincial announcement on the same day.