Happy days for matrics

The entrance hall at Fish Hoek High School was bursting at the seams as pupils collected their results.
Hundreds of far south pupils celebrated the end of their school career on Friday January 4 as they received their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results.

The Western Cape class of 2018 came third nationally, with an 81.5% pass rate; Gauteng was the top performer with 87.9% and the Free State came second with 87.5%.

Fish Hoek High School’s pass rate increased by 1.2% from 98.3% in 2017 to 99.5% for 2018 while Simon’s Town School showed an improvement of 7.3% from 86.6% for 2017 to 93.9% for 2018.

Muizenberg High School’s pass rate dropped by 4.1% from 92.7% in 2017 to 88.6% in 2018 with Ocean View Secondary School dropping 6.4% from 82.1% in 2017 to 75.7% in 2018. There was also a drop of 9.2% for Masiphumelele High School, from 66.7% in 2017 to 57.5% for 2018.

MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer congratulated the matriculants and said the percentage of candidates who passed had increased from 75.7% in 2009 to 81.5% in 2018 which was an increase of 5.8%.

The entrance hall at Fish Hoek High School was bursting at the seams as pupils collected their results. They were supported by family and friends and the opening of the brown envelopes produced shrieks of laughter, jumping up and down, big smiles for selfies and hugs.

Allan Singe said he was very happy with his results and it was what he had expected. He is taking a gap year and will be working abroad this year to save money for his studies.

“I want to thank the school for pushing me to do my best,” he said.

Eliana Nkembo was also happy with her results and said “maybe an extra A would have been nice.”

She too is taking a gap year and will be doing a TEFL course. She plans to study radiology when she returns from teaching English abroad.

Tshegofatso Leeuw plans to study law next year after taking a gap year. She said her results were better than expected and she planned to celebrate with her friends.

Parents Quinton and Wendy Katnis said they are very proud of their daughter, Jadine.

She will be studying speech and hearing therapy at Stellenbosch University.

Her mother said she was a model student.

“She would come home from school, have something to eat and then go to her room to study. She worked very hard,” Ms Katnis said.

At Simon’s Town School, Curtis Harrison celebrated his results with his family.

He was accompanied by his brothers and sisters who made special placards saying “Congratulations Kirk”.

He said he was relieved the exams and the release of the results were over.

He will be studying IT at Pearson Institute of Higher Education.

Lwando Melamane was the top student at Masiphumelele High School and achieved six distinctions.

Fish Hoek High School principal, Gavin Fish said he was extremely proud of the results.

He said academic challenges in 2018 varied from emotional distress, pupils persisting in taking subjects which they were not suited to and teachers surviving completely unrealistic assessment expectations in certain subjects.

He said it became clear that in the 21st century pupils needed significant skills in communication, collaboration, creativity and conflict management.

“The 99.5% pass rate says much about my teachers’ hard work, but also from parents and the pupils themselves. The 22 A aggregates included some new faces and our Dux Academic, Anya Coulthard, with an aggregate over 90%, had seven subjects above 90% and one at 89%,” he said.

He added that the success of the pass rate can be attributed to pastoral time with counsellors, extra lessons over weekends and pupil driven study groups.

“We continue to produce individual marks among the best in the province and eagerly await the Provincial Top 10’s listing,” he said.

Ocean View Secondary School principal, Keith Klein said he was “a bit” disappointed with the pass rate as the school put a lot of effort in to obtaining the aimed 90% pass rate.

He said the school offered Saturday morning classes as well as extra classes every afternoon after school but violence in the community had a direct impact on the programme as many meetings, Grade 12 activities and parent meetings had to be cancelled because of fear for the safety of the pupils, teachers and parents.

However, he said, there was a positive aspect. The school was delighted that it had the biggest group of Grade 12 pupils ever in the existence of this school.

“This is encouraging as we are starting to stem the dropout rate. More pupils are remaining in school and aiming to finishing Grade 12,” he said.

He said they were ready to tackle 2019 and started with the Grade 12s on Tuesday, a day earlier, to set the standard and sell the 100% pass rate for 2019.

Muizenberg High School principal, Leoni Jacobs said she was disappointed with the pass rate especially due to the intervention programmes such as extra classes the school had on offer.

She said although she had a very dedicated team that worked around the clock, 2018 was not without challenges.

She said risk subjects such as mathematics and physics was the main cause of pupils failing and their strategy for this year is to tackle the problem head-on, starting with Grade 10s.

“Our aim is to put stronger strategies in place so problems can be identified early on. I have a very dedicated team and we take full accountability for our results and must now make sure pupils and parents are on the same page,” she said.

Masiphumelele High School principal, Nelson Mafrika said although the school’s pass rate had dropped, the school considered it an achievement in light of  the group of Grade 12s it had.

The Grade 12s were part of Masiphumelele High School pupils that staged a protest outside the school in February 2016, barricading the gate with burning tyres and calling for the removal of the principal due to a lack of formal education.

“Most of those pupils progressed to the next grade without a proper pass and found the Grade 12 curriculum frustrating. They chose not to attend extra classes and not to cooperate,” he said.

He said the school faced many challenges in 2018 and teachers had low morale but are ready to take on 2019.

Simon’s Town School declined to comment.