Provincial premier Helen Zille and her education MEC Debbie Schafer said it was important to look at the retention rate of Grade 10 pupils to arrive at the “real” matric pass rate.
In a joint statement, they said merely comparing provincial pass rates encouraged provinces and schools to ensure that poorly-performing children dropped out.
“This practice, known as ‘culling’, defeats the purpose of education for these children and is unacceptable.”
They said the province’s retention rate from Grade 10 to Grade 12 stood at 63.5 percent, up from 53.1 percent in 2009.
Last year, 85.1 percent of pupils in the province attained their national senior certificate.
The province was aiming for a “stretch target” of 43,000 passes this year, compared to 40,558 passes last year.
Just under 50,000 full-time pupils were registered to write their final exams.
“While we are excited about the record ‘quantity’ of passes that we can achieve this year, we are also confident that we will sustain the improvement in the quality of our results,” they said.
The province wished to maintain a target of over 40 percent of candidates achieving access to a bachelor degree.
“The Western Cape education department will continue to assist learners in the remaining 42 days with intensive support to schools.”