Matrics show their mettle

Matrics at northern suburbs schools are celebrating after getting their results last week.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the national matric pass rate of 75.1% on Thursday January 4, although matrics in the Western Cape only got their results a day later.

The Western Cape came third, with a pass rate of 82.8%, down by 3% from 2016 and behind Free State with 86% and Gauteng with 85%.

President High School in Goodwood, which had 88 pupils sit the exams, scored well above the national and provincial pass rates with a 100% pass rate compared to last year’s 96.7%.

The school had 35% bachelor’s pass rate and its top pupil, Anja Snyman, scored 81.7% and five distinctions.

“I am so excited and proud of our pupils,” said principal Erna Joubert. I want to encourage them to work hard and be responsible in their future endeavours. I also want to urge them to fulfil their abilities to the fullest and grasp every opportunity that comes their way.”

Tygerberg High School had a 99.4% pass, with 63% of its candidates getting bachelor’s passes.

Fairbairn College had a 99% matric pass and 80% of the 177 candidates earned bachelor’s passes. There were 215 subjects distinctions, and principal Bernie Marchand congratulated Rushda Adam, Dave Binza, Azhar Cader, Joshua Heyns, Warren Huang, Marco Jonkers, Stefan Karamanski, Himli Parshotam and Jethro Volkwyn on scoring distinctions in seven subjects.

A further six pupils each earned distinctions in six subject and five pupils had distinctions in five subjects.

Joshua Heyns was the school’s top achiever with a 95.5% pass.

“It feels amazing. I feel so blessed to have achieved these results,” he said. Joshua plans to study a BCom in accounting at UCT this year.

“I want to be a chartered accountant and, ultimately, I want to join a top global firm. The key to getting ahead is getting started. You have to have a balanced school life which includes academia, sport and cultural activities,” he said.

Head boy Marco Jonkers achieved a 90.1% pass rate with seven distinctions.

Goodwood College had 98% pass rate, 37.6% of them bachelor’s passes.

Parow High School’s pass rate dropped slightly from 99% last year to 94.6% this year, and just over half were bachelor’s passes.

JG Meiring High School scored 84.7%, down from 96.3%, and 41.6% were bachelors passes. The school’s top achievers were Queen Januaries with 78.3%; Jesse de Jager with 73.8% and Tamiya Wyngaard with 71.6%.

Duane Forsyth, who came fifth with 70.5%, said: “I am disappointed that I did not receive the distinctions I wanted. I missed out by a few percentages. I plan to study law at the University of the Western Cape. I plan on becoming an advocate. I want to focus on human rights law as I want to help people in our country and on our continent whose basic human rights are infringed upon. If I can change one person’s life, I will be happy,” he said.

Ludi Mgedesi got a bachelor’s pass and plans to do a BA in social dynamics at Stellenbosch University.

“I am happy about my results. My hard work and determination paid off,” he said.

Jessica Shelver, the spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schafer, congratulated the 2017 matrics.

“We are especially pleased that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country, with 39.1% of pupils achieving this quality pass,” she said.

Ms Shelver said the Western Cape achieved the highest proportion of mathematics passes, bachelor’s passes and distinctions, as well as, the highest throughput rate.

“The Free State, by contrast, had the fifth highest throughput rate in the country,” she said.Former teacher and co-founder of Step-up Education Centres Cindy Glass said that every year, teachers, principals, pupils and parents focused on the preparation and writing of the final matric examinations and every year they were left feeling battered and disappointed at the less-than-desirable results.

“With a 75.1% national pass rate, this year was not much different to years past. Only three quarters of matrics achieved success and this, despite, increased attempts to improve the outcome of the matric exams,” she said.

Emotional intelligence, training, cutting red tape and getting the basics right were key to improving the matric pass rate.

“The challenges being experienced in our attempts to improve the matric results are seemingly overwhelming, but they are not impossible. The only thing stopping South Africa from setting sustainable trends in education is our fear of change. Let’s stop what we are doing and find solutions which will result in a better South Africa for all,” she said.