In a historic first, Gauteng has achieved the highest percentage of bachelors passes since 1994, with 44.46% of matric students achieving a bachelors pass in the province.
Gauteng also contributed the highest number of matrics who qualified for bachelors studies in 2019 - 43 494 students qualified in total.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the results of the National Senior Certificate exams indicated a maturing education system, as the province's pass rate rose slightly to 87.23%.
Speaking at the announcement of the matric results on Wednesday, Lesufi said: "The results of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) of the Class of 2019 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 25 years."
With 97 717 matriculants writing the NSC, Gauteng is the second largest provincial education system.
85 243 pupils passed their matric exams in the province, compared to 83 415 in 2018.
"Over 30.28% of learners, or 29 587 learners who wrote, passed with a diploma pass," Lesufi said.
"I am encouraged by the fact that more learners who passed the National Senior Certificate exams in 2019, of 74.73% learners (73 028 of 97 717 learners), passed with a bachelor or diploma pass, qualifying them to go into higher education. This up from 73.97% in 2018."
Lesufi added, however, that "there has also been a slight decrease in the percentage of learners who passed at the Higher Certificate level, mainly progressed learners".
The number of school which achieved a 90% and above pass rate has increased, with 287 schools achieving 95% and above.
"As I said last year, we have to attend to the matter of schools that consistently perform below par. The issue of small schools must also be resolved, as must the urgent matter of the 52 public and independent schools that achieved less than 65%," Lesufi said.
He said no public schools had performed below 40%, with two independent schools performing below that mark. Lesufi said these schools would be shut down.
"In the next few days, the department will meet with the school management teams of all public schools that performed below 65%, and to hold them to account for their poor performance," he said.
The number of underperforming schools (below 50%) had decreased to just one in 2019, from 101 in 2013.
Lesufi said pro-poor policies have had a major impact on closing the gap "between schools serving poor communities, specifically township schools, and those with a strong middle class component".
"While both school types achieved better results, with township schools achieving a pass rate of 89.82%, compared to 83.75% in 2018, and non-township schools 92.61%, compared to 91.3% compared in 2018, and 91.43% in 2017," he added.
Lesufi said that these improvements could not have been made without the efforts of the department, as well as parents, teachers and principals.
"Your efforts, your contribution to the outcomes we are able to celebrate today, prove that our children and our country are best served by constructive engagement from all sides," he said.