Pretoria — KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize has congratulated the Department of Education in the province for this year's "impressive" matric results.
KZN learners achieved a 73.1% matric pass rate - up by 5% from 2011's 68.1%.
"I am particularly impressed to see that education has become a societal matter where everyone in the community becomes part of the drive to ensure the provision of quality education," said Mkhize during the release of the provincial matric results on Thursday.
Mkhize said it was important to ensure that the process of teaching and learning did not get disrupted by issues that affect the community, such as crime and violence.
He said the provincial legislature had also prioritised education and all members would visit schools to ensure classes started on the first day of the academic year because "any time wasted not teaching is time lost for the rest of the year".
Mkhize also emphasised the importance of enthusiastic teachers who were excited about teaching children.
He also encouraged teachers to always act in a way that would have a positive impact on learners "from how you dress, to your attitude toward learning".
He also thanked trade unions for their role in the outcomes for the learners and performance by teachers.
"It is impossible not to have any conflict when you are working together, but we need to ensure that conflict does not detract us from our primary objective of ensuring the provision of quality education for the African child," said Mkhize.
He noted the importance of the involvement of parents in the education of their children as "no child could feel supported if the parent was not supportive of their education".
"Education from us is not an option but is a must have because for those who will participate in areas that will help build this county's economy, they [need] to be highly skilled in technical areas, which will take this country to the future.
"So there is no school or child who should be happy with a pass rate below 50%. We therefore need to call on the skills and experience of others, even those who have retired, to improve ourselves," said Mkhize.