Some highs and lows for 2017 matric class

THE Eastern Cape saw an improvement in the 2017 matric results from 59.3% to 65%, an increase of 5.7%, but the pass rate in Ndlambe Municipality has shown a concerning decrease as well as record lows for some schools.

PASSES TO THE FUTURE: 2017 National Senior Certificate pupils at Port Alfred High School proudly waved their matric certificates outside the school last Friday Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Yet, despite problems, some schools with a decrease in the pass rate in 2016 made improvements on their results.

Siyanda Mabewa was the top matric pupil at Kuyasa Combined School with two distinctions and an average of 69.5%. Headmaster Xolani Mayana said he was delighted with his pupil.

Of the 50 pupils who sat the matric exams, 32 passed with a total of nine subject distinctions, 12 bachelor passes, 12 diplomas and eight higher passes. The school was happy to have seen an increase to 64% from 60% in the previous year. A further 16 pupils are eligible to sit supplementary exams.

“Our results have improved tremendously,” said Mayana. “I want to thank all my teachers for their hard work and dedication, they pulled out all the stops and I have no doubt we will get a 100% pass rate this year. All glory to God.”

According to headmaster Clive Pearson, while the pass rate for 2017 is disappointing, Port Alfred High School was exceptionally proud of head girl Inga Mpepanduku, who attained a full house of seven distinctions.  The pass rate for 2017 was 88% with 64 passes out of 73 pupils that began the year. This figure is significantly down on last year’s 94%.

In total there were 27 distinctions across a number of subjects, with 17 candidates eligible for university this year.

News from Nomzamo High School was that the pass rate had also failed to meet last year’s almost 93%, and fell to 75%. Of the 16 pupils that sat the matric examinations, 12 passed. There were 19 distinctions earned by pupils across all subjects including seven bachelors passes, four diploma passes and one senior certificate pass. Top pupil was Myalezo Deja with five distinctions.

“It’s a matter of us going back to basics,” said headmaster Thandile Mkele. “We must analyse the performance of the pupils. There is a lot of work to be done this year.”

Contacting Velile High School in Bathurst’s Nolukhanyo township proved difficult so no overall percentages could be calculated. However, according to the published results, the school had a total of 27 pupils pass matric with three bachelor passes, 10 admissions to the higher certificate, 13 admissions for diplomas and one National Senior Certificate pass.

A similar situation unfolded when attempting to contact Ukhanyo Secondary School in Alexandria township, KwaNonqubela. TotT was unable to reach the principal to determine if the school had seen an increase of the previous year’s 50% pass rate which, in itself, was a significant improvement from its 21.2% in 2016.

At Shaw Park Combined School, the results reflected five passes with one a bachelor pass. Unfortunately TotT could not determine how many pupils wrote the Grade 12 final exams.

Nompucuko Combined School in Marselle had devastating results with only two passes from a class of 53. Principal Boyce Xanesi did not hide his disappointment.

“In my 20 years of teaching it is the first time I have come across this,” said Xanesi, who had high hopes last year as the school had seen a 28% increase in their pass rate the year before and he had hoped it would help motivate the class of 2017. He said a big problem at the school was a general disinterest.

“Pupils were not focused and disciplined. Many were pushed through and perhaps were not ready,” he said. Strategies used to help support the pupils after the first term reflected bad results included extra weekend lessons, involving parents, community leaders as well as spiritual leaders.  Xanesi felt the solution lay with parents being more involved in their children’s education.

Alexandria High School saw a decrease in pass rate but reflected an improvement in overall quality results. School spokesperson Jayshree Rajkarn stated a lack of teachers might have been a problem and that adding more will be a vital turnaround strategy.

El Shaddai Christian Academy in Port Alfred enjoyed a 100% pass rate (IEB results) with their first matric class with 66% admission to bachelor’s degree.

“The year was filled with the challenges and many firsts,” said principal Rene Payne. “We are so proud of [the class of 2017] and trust we have prepared them for more than just a final exam, but for life. We pray that God will remain their compass and guide for all their days.”

Ikamvalesizwe Combined School in Kenton had 15 passes with four bachelor’s passes, but we were unable to find out the pass rate as principal Gilbert Gqamane would not discuss it.

DA MPL and member of the education portfolio committee, Jane Cowley, said: “The department could achieve far greater success if it were to address the inherent problems of supply chain corruption, sluggish infrastructure development, high teacher/pupil ratios and an absence of effective competency testing for principals and high quality training for teachers. School principals and teachers who underperform without fear of consequences will continue to sully the reputation of the department and prevent our children from achieving their full potential,” she said.

Director of the Sarah Baartman Education District, Nicky de Bruyn, revealed that only Nelson Mandela District with an average at 72.6% beat Sarah Baartman as the best in the province and then by only 0.8%. He cited several challenges including schools struggling to recruit suitably qualified teachers, Ill-discipline among pupils, absenteeism, commitment, leadership and management issues.

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