Durban – KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Mthandeni Dlungwana says he is satisfied with the performance of the province's Class of 2017.The province received a 72.87% pass rate compared to 2016's 66.40% pass rate, Dlungwana announced in Durban on Friday.He said all 12 of the department's districts had improved from the 2016 National Senior Certificate results.The Umgungundlovu District tops the chart with a pass rate of 81.51%, while Zululand was last, with only 64.83%.Dlungwana said he was pleased that, out of 124 317 pupils who wrote the exams, 35 687 of them achieved Bachelor's Degree passes, enabling them to study at universities.The 41.59% overall maths pass rate improved from 2016's 37.91%.The physical science pass rate stood at 65.11%, compared to the previous year's 57.76%.A total of 109 schools achieved a 100% pass rate and three schools achieved a 0% pass rate.Dlungwana said seven schools had received a 0% pass rate in 2016.He reiterated that principals of the worst-performing schools in 2017 would be held accountable."It cannot be business as usual for those schools. We're coming for them. The schools' principals will be held accountable," he said.Also read: Limpopo premier says matric pass rate increase is worthy of celebrationDlungwana said he was also pleased that three inmates from the Usethubeni Youth Centre at the Westville prison achieved more than five As in their exams.He advised those who failed matric: "We encourage those who did not make it to use all the available resources provided by the Department of Education in order to write the subjects they failed."The province's top pupils in public schools, 18-year-old Joanna Smith, who attended Danville Park Girls' High School in Durban North, said she never expected to be awarded for being the top learner."It is such a surprise. I'm absolutely ecstatic," she told News24.Smith said her biggest challenge was finding balance between her books, family, sports and friends.She advised the 2018 matric class to "prepare from the beginning of the year because it's going to be a long road". "Put an extra effort on the studies so that, by the end of the year, you're relaxed and ready to write your final exams," she said.She added that she was more than happy to help matriculants who need assistance with their studies.Smith said she intended to pursue studies in actuarial science at Stellenbosch University.