Just over half of the schools in the Southern Mail distribution area have increased their matric pass rates, in line with the provincial pass rate, which rose by 1.3 percent, from 84.7 percent in 2015 to 86 percent for the 2016 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.
One such school, Christel House in Ottery, had a 100 pass rate, and its principal, Ronald Fortune, was thrilled with the school’s results.
Christel House South Africa CEO Nicky Sheridan was ecstatic with the school’s results.
“I am very proud of the pupils and the passionate teachers who go above and push the bar for better results. We will continue to strive that our quality education continues and we will do so with programmes such as the farm study programme,”said Mr Sheridan.
The school rents a farm in Schaapkraal, where pupils can go if they need a quiet and safe place to study as part of a fully residential study programme.
At the farm, there is a strict study plan guided by a supervising parent and a subject adviser.
It’s a dramatic change in scenery for the children, as most Christel House pupils come from areas plagued by gang violence and they face challenging personal circumstances Other schools with increased pass rates are: Fairmount, from 89.8 percent in 2015 to 95.5 percent; Lotus River, from 63.4 percent to 75.7 percent; Pelican Park, from 92 percent to 96.9 percent; Sibelius, from 83.3 percent to 89.3 percent; Steenberg, from 86.7 percent to 96 percent; Wittebome, from 79.9 percent to 84.1 percent; Wynberg, from 87.4 percent to 94 percent, and Zeekoevlei, from 91.3 percent to 98.3 percent.
Lavender Hill High principal Faseeg Manie was disappointed with his school’s results, which dropped from 83.8 percent to 68.8 percent.
Mr Manie said the school’s money problems and ongoing gang violence in the neighbourhood hadn’t done the matric pupils any favours.
“Last year, about 50 people were shot dead in Lavender Hill, and the pupils had to walk past dead bodies, not to mention duck and dive when shots were fired either at home or around the school,” said Mr Manie.
The school has also been battling financially: last year, it appealed to the Western Cape Education Department to classify it as a no-fee school because most parents either could not pay or refused to pay school fees (“High school in the red,” Southern Mail, July 27, 2016).
“Our financial challenges are huge. We can’t afford additional resources like study guides and additional text books for our pupils,” said Mr Manie. “Above everything else, we have shootings, poverty, gangsterism, substance abuse and other issues to compete with.
However we are not making excuses. We are interrogating where we can improve, and hopefully next year we will increase out pass rate to about 80 percent again.”
Other schools in the Southern Mail distribution area whose pass rates dropped are: Crestway, from 88.3 percent to 71.2 percent; Grassdale,from 98.5 percent to 94.1 percent; Grassy Park, from 94.3 percent to 91 percent; Heathfiled, from 82.9 percent to 75.2 percent; Immaculata , from 100 percent to 95 percent; and South Peninsula, from 98 percent to 97.9 percent.
Education MEC Debbie Schafer congratulated the Class of 2016.
“I am extremely happy that the Western Cape has increased our pass rate while successfully retaining the highest percentage in the country of learners within the system.
“The Western Cape’s performance in the 2016 NSC is one of quality, and of which I am very proud. I acknowledge 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,” said Ms Schafer.