Polokwane - At least three schools in Limpopo obtained a zero percentage pass in the 2014 matric examinations, the Limpopo education department announced on Tuesday.Curriculum manager Onicca Dederen said these schools all had a very low pupil enrollment."The trend with schools with very low enrollment is that they perform poorly, hence the necessity to merge these schools," she said.The affected schools were Seroletshidi in Waterberg, which had three matriculation candidates, Makidi Secondary in Sekhukhune, which had nine candidates, and Sethula Secondary, also in Sekhukhune, which had seven candidates for the exams.Overall, only nine schools in the province achieved a 100% pass rate in 2014.However, the department defended this figure, saying that it was the same level of achievement as in 2013."All of them are newcomers in this category except Waterberg High and Hoerskool Eric Louw."The results also showed that the Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts' performance declined.Acting Limpopo education MEC Jerry Ndou praised the department for the fact that the province's pass rate had not dropped following the introduction of the curriculum and assessment policy statement.This change had seen some provinces' results decline."As a province, we have, for the first time, not been negatively affected by this trend. Instead, our performance has improved both quantitatively and qualitatively," said Ndou."Given the general decline in learner performance nationally and in most provinces, we are happy with our achievement of 72.9% even though we have not achieved our target of 80%.In 2014, 73 543 full-time candidates registered in Limpopo to sit the National Senior Certificate exams. Of the 72 990 full-time candidates who wrote the exams, 53 179 passed, or 72.9%.Out of the successful candidates, 16 325 qualified for university study.A total of 19 811 pupils failed matric.According to the results, the province came fourth, after Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. It was also one of four provinces that showed an improvement in results.