Johannesburg - Pupils should not be "lost" to the education system for the sake of achieving higher pass rates, Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schfer said on Monday."We believe that retaining more learners in the system and giving them the opportunity to pass the [matric] is more important than 'losing' learners along the way so that schools can achieve a higher pass rate," she said in a statement."We believe that this practice defeats the purpose of education for these children and is unacceptable. It denies them the opportunity to succeed, no matter what challenges lie before them."The Western Cape was the country's fourth best performing province, with a pass rate of 82.2%, down from 85.1% in 2013."I have asked for a deeper analysis of these results to ascertain the reasons for this," she said.Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the national matric pass rate was 75.%, 2.4% lower than the 78.2% in 2013.Schfer congratulated those pupils who had passed their matric exams, given indications the examinations were more difficult."In light of this we are also especially proud that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor's passes in the country, with 38.8% of learners achieving this quality pass."The province improved its mathematics pass rate from 73.3% to 73.9%. The pass rate in physical sciences decreased by 1.9% to 70.7%.