Johannesburg – Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi has congratulated committed educators in the province for ensuring a 85.1% pass rate for the nearly 100 000 full-time learners who wrote the National Senior Certificate examinations.Lesufi was speaking at an event at the Nokuthula Centre and Special School in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg where the best performing schools and learners in the province were honoured for their hard work."We are the second largest provincial education system with 97 284 matriculants that wrote the National Senior Certificate examinations. Second, only to Kwazulu-Natal," Lesufi said.Also read: Real matric pass rate is 37.3 %, says DA"The results of the National Senior Certificate of the Class of 2017 demonstrate that we are a maturing, stable and improving provincial education system. This improvement in performance must be celebrated in the context of the large, unique and complex provincial education system that Gauteng has become over the last 23 years," he said.Lesufi said the province contributed the second highest number of candidates who qualified with university passes, after KwaZulu-Natal. He said 35 012, or 36% of those who wrote qualified for admission to bachelor studies."I can proudly say that even the poorest child has access to good schools, and education which is of good quality. We have one of the largest matric examination enrolments of all provinces, and we produce some of the highest overall pass rates and bachelor pass rates in the country," he said.He also pointed to the success of pro-poor policies in the province, with the gap closing between fee paying schools and no-fee schools.Modernising learningLesufi said the province had taken a policy position that learners in Gauteng must have access to a specialised, modern, relevant, dynamic and responsive curriculum."This specialised education is in response to the merging demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution and digital economies - one of the key responses to the changing world is the concept of Schools of Specialisation," he said.Lesufi said Schools of Specialisation sought to address, amongst other things, the mismatch between skills with which learners exit the schooling system and the requirements of industry, as well as to provide expanded opportunities.He said the skills which had been prioritised through these schools would focus on disciplines including maths, science and ICT, commerce and entrepreneurship, engineering, sports and the creative arts.Lesufi also highlighted the province’s commitment towards transforming and modernising teaching and learning in schools through the "Schools of the Future Paperless Classroom" rollout."Our learners have been provided with e-Books that are preloaded on the ICT devices like teacher laptops, learner tablet devices and LED Smart Boards which we have provided as part of our investment in a more progressive system of teaching and learning," he said.Lesufi said learners who leave school today know firsthand that the world expects them to be digitally literate, competent and forward thinking.He highlighted the performance of the province through the increase in distinctions, contributing to 23% of all national distinctions."There is general [a] agreement that our success rates in mathematics and science are still below the levels necessary to respond satisfactorily to our skills needs. We have dealt with our planned responses in this area in other platforms. We will be doing more to increase the success rates in these critical subjects," Lesufi said.