Matric results not what was hoped for

Despite the Eastern Cape province having broken the 70% pass-rate (70.6%) for the first time in the post-apartheid era it was a fairly disappointing year for a considerable number of 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) matric pupils who received their results when they were released last Friday.

HAPPY TO BE IN THE TOP: The 2018 matric pupils at Kuyasa Combined School did well this year and held their certificates high as they celebrated the 83.78% pass-rate they managed to achieve Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Nevertheless, with the pass-rate considerably down on the previous year at many schools, some did far better than in previous years and, at the head of this list would be Kuyasa Combined School in Nemato.

“We are very pleased with the progress the pupils have made,” said principal Xolani Mayana. The school almost reached the 70% mark with the 2017 results at 69.5% and, for the 2018 results, managed an impressive 83.78% with 31 of its 37 matric pupils passing and attaining 13 bachelor passes, eight diploma passes and 10 with higher level passes.

The highest marks in the Grahamstown sub-region once again went to Victoria Girls High School (VGHS) that maintained its first position with an unassailable 100% pass rate with all 81 pupils passing and 74 pupils receiving bachelor passes, six with diploma passes and just one with a higher pass mark.

VGHS principal Warren Schmidt, said: “I’m very satisfied with the performance of the 2018 class, they have maintained the school’s longstanding tradition of the 100% pass rate, and, more importantly the over 90% Bachelor’s pass rate.

“They have given the class of 2019 a worthy benchmark to aim for, and hopefully exceed. Thank you to all the pupils, parents and staff at VG for their efforts in keeping VG the top performing public school in the district.”

Port Alfred High School only managed fifth position this year with only 53 passes of the 64 pupils who took the NSC examinations.

“The pass rate for 2018 has been a wake-up call with Port Alfred High attaining a pass rate of 82.81%.  Sixty-four candidates sat the examinations and 11 failed,” wrote Laura Guest, head of marketing and alumni.

“The 37th matric class to sit matric finals achieved 26 distinctions across a number of subjects with 28 candidates eligible for university in 2019.  Head girl, Alizwa Tuko secured Dux with 81.86% with four As and three Bs, with Jade Basson a close second with an 81.7% aggregate with three As and four Bs. Tuko will study Accounting at UCT while Basson has been accepted to read a degree in Biokinetics at NMU in 2019.

“Reflection and re-evaluation of the academic philosophy and the implementation thereof will take place at PAHS.  There are a number of factors at play handicapping our school’s goal of a 100% pass rate. Poor subject choice, the lack of commitment towards studies, teacher performance and development, insufficient pupil support structures and the manner in which pupils are progressed are some of the areas that need to be addressed.  Not all is lost and we, as a staff, commit ourselves to turning this ship around in 2019,” said deputy headmaster, Dr Ian Knott-Craig.

Progressed pupils (a system that allows struggling pupils to take their matric examinations over two years rather than one year) appeared to be a general problem at schools. Nomzamo High School in Nemato would have received a 92.6% pass-rate but only managed to achieve 80.48% due to 14 progressed pupils.

Principal Thandile Mkele said he was a little disappointed. “We told the pupils throughout the year that they can do it,” said Mkele. “The pupils attended all of the intervention strategies and that one progressed pupil managed to excel with a bachelors pass.

There were different emotions from principals of the Schools in Alexandria, Marselle, Kenton and Bathurst. Some were happy about the percentages they received and some were not.

Ukhanyo High School in Alexandria was not at all happy about their 34% pass-rate. Ndibaza Nomawethu, Grade 12 PHYSICAL SCIENCE teacher, said they tried their best.

“We are very disappointed by the results, out of 32 people who wrote their final exams only 11 passed which gave us [less than] a 34% pass rate. I feel that as the teachers we did our best, we even had a school camp on the Friday they were going to write their final exams. They spent most of their time at school studying. Even though it was an improvement compared to 2017, we need to up our game.

“This year we are hoping to start the camp around March so we can see the pupil’s shortcomings and work on those,” Ndibaza said.

Meanwhile it was celebrations for Alexandria High School as they were celebrating 73.3% pass from their 2018 matrics. Principal Tommy Scott was really happy about their outcomes.

“It is quite an improvement because in 2017 we had 57.1 % [and] this year it has gone up. I must say the pupils worked really hard and did very well, I am so proud of them. I am happy about the results out of the 30 pupil who wrote their final exams 22 passed. We have three bachelors, 16 diplomas and three higher certificate passes,” Scott said.

Velile High School principal Wonga Ntantiso was very proud of the 78% they achieved. Ntantiso added that the pupils have worked very hard in achieving this pass rate.

“Out of the 38 pupil who wrote their final exams 30 passed and we have 10 bachelors out of that 30. I am very excited for them. They did a very good job and I am glad to say we haven’t been underperforming,” Ntantiso said.

Gregg van Molendorff from Graeme College said: “[We are] very proud of the class of 2018. There were some outstanding results. None more impressive than Tashin Patrick [who achieved seven As].”

Overall, there were three A aggregates and 67 subject As in this class. We are very proud to have a 97% pass rate for 2018, with a 72% Bachelor pass rate. It is pleasing to have 99% of the candidates who passed receive either a bachelor or diploma pass,” Van Molendorff said.

“We wish you our boys every success in their future endeavours, and will follow their progress closely.”

The overall results for the NSC examinations were; Victoria Girls High School with 100% followed by Graeme College (96.87%), Kuyasa Combined School (83.78%), PJ Olivier (83.33%), PAHS (82.81%), Nomzamo Secondary School (80.48%), Velile High School (78.94%), Alexandria High School (73.33%), Shaw Park High School (57.14%), Ikamva Lesizwe Public School (41.02%), Ukhanyo Secondary School (34.37%) and Nompocuko High School (22.22%).

BY ROB KNOWLES and NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU

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