Principals share secrets to matric breakthrough


Ndlambe schools credit hard work, extra lessons as they celebrate best-ever results for class of ’22

DISTRICT TOP ACHIEVERS: Kuyasa Combined School’s Ndiyamthanda Mphurwana (left), headmaster, Xolani Mayana and Kungawo Mdingi. Mphurwana and Mdingi flew Ndlambe school’s flag high when they received the MEC’s award for being the top two achievers among the Sarah Baartman District’s historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs). Picture: SUPPLIED

Ndlambe school principals say a dedicated staff, extra classes and support from the community and other stakeholders is the winning formula for the success of the 2022 matric results. 

Singing their way along the road at 11pm on Thursday in anticipation of their results was how the celebrations started for Kuyasa Combined School’s matric class of 2022. The next day, a motorcade followed, celebrating the school’s first 100% matric pass. Headmaster, Xolani Mayana, is the first principal to achieve this feat since the school’s first matric exams in 1998. 

Mayana took over the reins in 2008 following a 26% pass rate in 2007. He managed to improve the pass rate to 56% in 2008. From there on, the school’s performance got better and better each year. 

“It starts off with trusting God, where you say God you have given me this vision and you say God, I believe you’ll see me through,” said Mayana, who is an ordained pastor. “God placed in my path a solid team of teachers, SMT members, school governance and supporting stakeholders like Ndlambe Municipality, Rotary and Lions. On top of that, God has given me a committed class of 2022. When we shared our vision with them, the learners towed the line.” 

The record-breaking headmaster said the 2022 matriculants had played their part by attending morning, evening, and Saturday classes along with vacation school programmes. “Over and above that, we have a team which works with unity and in coherence,” said Mayana. He praised his staff for going beyond the call of duty and sacrificing their own time to ensure the learners pass.

“We have a mentoring programme at the school where each Grade 12 learner will choose their own mentor so that if the child doesn’t have a parent at home, we step in,” he said. 

Mayana thanked the parents who had allowed their children to attend all the extra classes. “Whenever we call in the parents for support, [their response] has been amazing,” he said. “We are at a stage now where the school has branded itself as the school of choice and a school of excellence [in the area]. “We are confident that the best is yet to come. I believe that God will give us a new blessing each time,” said the proud headmaster. 

The school’s top performing learners, Ndiyamthanda Mphurwana and Kungawo Mdingi also received the MEC’s award for being the Sarah Baartman District’s top two achievers in the HDI category.

“Without bragging, the quality of these results are impressive and I’m proud of our learners,” said Mayana. They will both be furthering their studies at Rhodes University in Makhanda. 

El Shaddai Christian Academy also achieved a 100% pass rate and their top performing learner, Lihle Gqaboti achieved distinctions for Mathematical Literacy and Tourism. This year, the school will have 21 learners enrolled to sit for the 2023 examinations, which is the largest matric group the school has had since its establishment. 

Port Alfred High popped corks in celebration of the school’s 94% pass rate.

TOAST: Port Alfred High School’s matric class of 2022, with headmaster, Nigel Adams, toast to their 94% pass rate. Picture: FAITH QINGA

“The Class of 2022 did very well as they were the worst impacted through the Covid 19 pandemic,” said principal Nigel Adam. “we wish the class of 2022 well for the future. Go out there and make us proud and become the future leaders of South Africa and serve with dignity and integrity.”

The school has maintained a pass rate of 94% for the past three years. Alexis Pienaar was their Dux learner, with an average of 90.7%. 

“We want to congratulate all the schools in Ndlambe circuit that achieved excellent results; all teachers and parents who supported these learners through difficult times; and Kuyasa and El Shaddai schools for achieving a 100% pass rate,” he said.   

Sheer dedication

Several schools in Ndlambe improved their pass rate over last year’s, with Ukhanyo Secondary School in Alexandria leading the pack. Ukhanyo improved by 34.6%, from 55.1% in 2021 to 89.7% in 2022. Nompucuko Combined School in Bushmans River Mouth followed with a remarkable 25.7%, from 60% in 2021 to 85.71% last year.

Headmaster, Xolani Davani said the school’s high pass rate was sheer dedication from the staff. “It has not been easy, we had to move beyond duty time and duty roles. We had to be parents, social workers, sometimes meal servers and friends to the learners [so that we could] execute our teaching roles,” he said. 

Davani said going to camp with matriculants to prepare for the final examinations played a big role in the school’s improved performance. “It was not about camping but what we did there as Grade 12 educators: we committed to quality and individualised our strategies. We are one of the unfortunate schools, faced with a shortage of specialised staff, especially in Maths, Maths Literacy and Science. We are also faced with socioeconomic [challenges],” he said.  

Their 2022 matric results not only broke a 16-year record at Nompucuko Combined, but it also pulled out them off the list of underperforming schools, which has been a red flag for the past 15 years, the principal said. “These results have broken the 84% record set more than 16 years ago, and they beat the target of 75% we projected,” said Davani. 

The school is aiming even higher for this year’s matrics and hope to raise the bar to 90%. 

Velile Secondary School in Bathurst improved by 20.75% to achieve a 71.42% pass rate in 2022. Principal Wanga Ntantiso attributed this to the extra classes that his pupils attended and the “final push” grant that the municipality provided. 

“We had afternoon classes for all the subjects, with the exception of IsiXhosa, along with weekend classes for core subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Business Studies and Economics. What also contributed immensely to our improvement were the department’s autumn, spring and winter school over the holidays at Nomzamo,” he said. 

Ntantiso praised the municipality’s intervention, through the R20000 grant which supported the school nutrition programme. “We received a grant from Ndlambe Municipality which helped us as lot to feed our learners during our after school classes. We decided to use that municipal grant specifically for the grade 12 learners’ nutrition programme,” he said. 

The school had nine Bachelor passes and their top performing learner was Siyamthanda Saki. Looking at the year ahead, the principal said they would be implementing the same strategy of making extra classes compulsory for their matriculants this year. “We will continue running the same programmes that worked for us last year,” said Ntantiso.


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