On Tuesday 7 January, the Western Cape Education Department minister, Debbie Schäfer, attended the release of the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in Johannesburg. “It was a happy occasion and I am pleased that we have improved our pass rate (in the Western Cape) to 82.3%,” she remarked. “I am also delighted with our highest yet bachelor pass rate of 43.6%, a close second to Gauteng,” she added.She congratulated the schools in the Metro North Education District for achieving the highest district percentage pass rate in the province – 86.3%. “This district was followed closely by the Overberg District with 86% and the Eden and Central Karoo District with 84.1%. The West Coast District achieved 83.8%. Metro Central achieved 83.4%, Metro South 81%, Cape Winelands 80.7%, and Metro East 78.3%.”In the deep south, which falls under the Metro South Schools District, Muizenberg High School achieved a matric pass rate of 87.5%; at Simon’s Town High School the pass rate was 87.7%; 66.3% at Masiphumelele High School and Fish Hoek High School achieved the highest pass rate in the area with 98.3%.“As we reflect on the achievements of the Class of 2019, I want to thank all the learners, teachers, district and head office officials and their support teams for their hard work and commitment to making these positive results a reality,” Schäfer said.She added that the results indicate significant progress has been made in improving the education system and learner outcomes in the province, particularly in poorer schools, since 2009. “Over the past 10 years, schools in Quintiles 1-3 (no-fee schools) have improved their pass rate by 16.7 percentage points from 56.7% in 2009 to 73.6% in 2019. Quintile 4 and 5 schools (fee-paying schools) have increased only slightly during this same period with 2.4 percentage points from 83.3% to 85.7%.“There is still a 12.1 percentage point difference between our no-fee and fee-paying schools, however, it is a great improvement from the 26.4% in 2009 when the current government took over,” she said.“For those candidates who did not achieve their desired results, there are options. I would encourage all learners who did not pass their exams not to give up and to continue doing whatever they can to complete Grade 12.” Counselling is available for anyone disappointed with their results. They can either approach their school or phone the Safe Schools Hotline on 0800 45 46 47.Those who qualify for supplementary examinations must apply by 31 January 2020. Hard copy applications must be submitted to the Examination Client Centre, Grand Central Building, Lower Parliament Street, Cape Town. Learners can apply for re-marks (R112 per subject) and re-checks (R27 per subject) until Wednesday 22 January. They can apply using the online service: www.eservices.gov.za.V More information can be found at wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/nsc-exams.