The Gauteng matric class of 2012 achieved the best results in the country for the second time in three years, education MEC Barbara Creecy said on Thursday.
"They have produced the best matric results our province has seen since the birth of our democracy. The best results since we introduced universal access to education," she said while announcing the province's 2012 matric results at Wits University in Johannesburg.
"And most importantly, the best results ever, not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of the quality of the results by schools, by districts and across the province."
The number of pupils who passed the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination in Gauteng increased by 2.8 percent from 81.1 percent in 2011 to 83.9 percent in 2012.
Creecy said education should be seen as a marathon and not a sprint. The results showed a significant improvement in the quality of passes achieved in the province.
"This year, 71 percent of learners passed mathematics compared to 61 percent in 2011, with a 25 percent increase in distinctions, to 1817.
The pass rate in Physical Science improved by 10 percent, to 70 percent.
Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria was the best performing school in the province.
Creecy said township schools were also improving.
"Of the seven learners who obtained 100 percent in Mathematics, no fewer than six are from township schools. Township schools have produced 7284 distinctions, compared with 6109 distinctions in 2011."
The number of children qualifying for university had gone up from 30 037 to 32 449 this year.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane were present to congratulate the top performers.
On Wednesday, Motshekga announced that the matric pass rate in South Africa improved in 2012 with 73.9 percent of grade 12s passing their final exams.
This was an improvement on the 70.2 percent pass rate in 2011.
Of the 623 897 who wrote the NSC exams, over 136 000 pupils achieved results that qualified them to go to university. Another 135 000 got results that would allow them to attend other higher education institutions.
Motshekga said in the 10 main subjects, excluding languages and other minor subjects, 55 650 distinctions had been achieved.