The Free State Department of Education was given the thumbs up for improving the pass rate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem subjects).Prof. Henk de Jager, vice-chancellor and principal of the Central University of Technology Free State, was speaking at the well-done function for the 2019 matriculants held at the university last Wednesday (08/01).According to De Jager, the improved pass rate in Stem subjects was the result of the instrumental role played by the members of the executive council for education, Dr Tate Makgoe, MEC, and his team. The increase in the number of learners who passed Stem subjects was the highlight of the Free State’s 88,4% achievement in the 2019 matric results. The province beat Gauteng to claim the top spot. De Jager applauded the Department of Education for breaking their pass rate record and setting a new record of 88,4%. This achievement makes the Free State the only province in the country to have achieved the National Senior Certificate pass rate above the 88% threshold. The province has been on an upward curve from 2012 to 2019, consistently performing above 80%.“What is noteworthy of the increase in the number of learners who passed Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is that some obtained a 100% mark in some of their subjects. This outstanding achievement not only means that more high-quality students will enter the CUT, and universities in general, but it also attests to the fact that the Department of Education is making great strides in encouraging schools in the province to value the importance of Stem subjects to overcome the demanding challenges facing our country,” said De Jager. Of the top ten Gr. 12 learners who raised the bar provincially include Neema Masinde, Mmakgwiti Khahlane, Gabriela von Eschwege, Marisca Stander, Mamello Khesa, Edward Maphalala, Sweetness Sethunya and Naudine Booyens. They achieved exceptional results in Physical Science, Geography and Life Sciences.