The tension in the air was almost palpable as Buren High School principal Annetjie Louw stood on the staircase in the Brooklyn’s school quad and talked to the class of 2016 before handing out their matric certificates on Thursday January 5.
Brooklyn teenagers Chenise Balini, Shade Louw and Nonkosi Maseti could hardly contain their nervousness. As they waited to get their results, Ms Louw praised the matrics for their determination, resulting in a 92.2 percent pass rate at the school, up by 7.3 percent from the previous year.
As she concluded her speech, there were shouts and whoops of joy and sighs of relief as the Bachelor’s certificates and diplomas were handed out by Ms Louw, who kissed and thanked each of the former pupils.
Austin Matsori Brown had a broad smile as he received his Bachelor’s certificate and told Tabletalk his hard work and self-imposed discipline had paid off.
An emotional Gail Currie had tears streaming down her face as she hugged her son, James Stewart Currie. Ms Currie, who lives in nearby Albow Gardens, said: “I worked so hard for him. I drove James like a drill sergeant and he will be studying next year at a tertiary institution in Claremont.”
Buren is a school with a mix of pupils from Brooklyn, Rugby and Ysterplaat, Table View, Du Noon, Joe Slovo and even Khayelitsha. Many come from low-income backgrounds and their pride at achieving a pass that would give them the key to a tertiary education was evident.
As Ms Louw commented ,”for the six pupils who failed, there is the opportunity to have your papers remarked at a cost of R180 or for the small fee of R21 your results can be rechecked. There is also the opportunity to write a supplementary exam.”
Hlumelo Samani, who lives in Joe Slovo, said he was “over the moon” to have gotten through and achieved a diploma pass. “I am not sure what I will be doing as I have various options open but I will be studying further so that my future can be bright,” he told Tabletalk.
At Parklands College, many of the pupils were among the province’s top achievers and Tabletalk caught up with Marina Bastos who lives in Big Bay. Marina only came to the country from Brazil four years ago and was barely fluent in English when she arrived. She buckled down and achieved six distinctions.
Marina was among a high number of top achievers, with Jana Minnie and Amey Meyer each receiving seven distinctions; five pupils each made 6 distinctions each; and seven matriculants got 5 distinctions each. In all, the school had 15 pupils with A aggregates.
Dara Correira who lives in Century City and hails from Angola; Angelique Munyange who lives in Parklands and Savannah Dasse who lives in West Beach and emigrated to the country with her parents from France, were among the 73 candidates who received Bachelor’s passes and each of the three got a distinction.
“We all studied really hard and gave up on a lot of activities during this time to achieve our results,” said Dara.
Principal Sylvia Steyn said she was extremely proud of the results in which the school achieved a 100% pass rate – 95% with Bachelor’s passes and the rest with Diploma passes.
“The main thing is that all the 77 matriculants now have access to tertiary education,” said Ms Steyn.
She added “while the school can be considered to have pupils from a generally economically comfortable background, many parents and even grandparents had to make huge sacrifices, with some grandparents subsidising their grandchildren. I am humbled by the success of the children.”
The school has one of the few Engineering, Graphics and Design departments and a Hospitality Department and in the former, 13 pupils received distinctions and the latter, two matriculants got distinctions in their specialised subjects.
In general, the matric class of 2016 in the Western Cape achieved an 86% pass rate in the National Senior Certificate examinations – an increase of 1.3% from 2015.
The Western Cape had the highest number of Bachelor’s passes 40.9% – leading Gauteng which had 36.2 percent. The class of 2016 also had a record-breaking pass rate of 77.2% in mathematics, and 73.8% in Physical Science.
MEC for Education Debbie Schafer commented at the release of the matric results that she was extremely happy with the pass rate. “The Western Cape’s performance in the 2016 NSC (National Senior Certificate) is one of quality, and of which I am very proud.” She acknowledged, however, that there is still much to be done to improve education in this province, especially the inequalities that still exist. “We will continue to look at ways of improving education in the Western Cape as we want to see more learners achieving their NSC and access to higher education to broaden their opportunities,” she said.
A total of 43 725 candidates passed matric in 2016, an improvement of 1.3% on the pass rate of 84.7% in 2015.
Ms Schafer also praised the improvements made in the mathematics and physical science results.
“It is pleasing that we saw improvements in percentage passing in both subjects in the 2016 NSC. The class of 2016 achieved a record breaking pass rate of 77.2% in mathematics. This is an increase of 2.3% from 2015, when the pass rate was 74.9%. Physical science candidates achieved a 73.8% pass rate, up 0.5% from 2015 when the pass rate was 73.3%. This is yet another record for this province and a result that we can all be proud of given that the pass rate in this subject was 52.9% when this administration first took office in 2009.”
Ms Schafer also expressed her satisfaction in the reduction of underperforming schools. “We have managed to reduce the number of underperforming schools from 27 in 2015 to 19 in 2016.”