Matrics end on a high

Randal Hael from Lavender Hill High passed.

Despite a difficult year for pupils, particularly those in their final school year, matriculants in the Southern Mail distribution area showed resilience in adversity. 

Last year absenteeism was at its highest and many pupils missed school because of gang violence in areas such as Lavender Hill, Parkwood, Lotus River, Hillview, Steenberg, Retreat and Cafda. 
Several people were killed and injured in gang-related shootings connected to drug turf wars, in-fighting and retaliation, and people were held hostage in their own communities.  
Residents from these areas pleaded with government and police for urgent intervention and participated in community meetings, imbizos, protests, placard demonstrations and prayer meetings to address the shootings. 
The violence has since been quelled with the implementation of the police’s Operation Thunder as well as an anti gang unit that has led to the arrest of several high-ranking gang members and hit-men. 
The Western Cape’s pass rate was 81.5% with 41 350 pupils who passing the 2018 NSC examination. 
Six schools in the Southern Mail distribution had an increase in their matric results; Grassdale, Sibelius, Pelican Park, South Peninsula and Lotus high schools as well as Christel House South Africa all improved their results. 
Sibelius High School principal Armien Samoedien said it’s been a tough year but he is pleased with the increase in their pass rate.
Sibelius High’s pass rate increased from 67.3% in 2017 to 71.9 % in 2018. In 2017 101 pupils sat for the exams and 68 passed and in 2018 89 pupils wrote and 64 passed.   
“We had extra classes three weeks before the September exams and summer and winter schools to assist pupils but it was evident by the attendance that it was difficult for pupils to come out of their communities because of the gang violence. There was one learner who couldn’t leave her home in Lavender Hill for a week because there was a shooting at the flat and revenge shootings were planned so she was absent. These are the circumstance our pupils had to face so studying under those circumstances must have also been very difficult. Everything considered, there’s a lot of work to be done but we are pleased with this year’s results,” said Mr Samoedien. 
Steenberg High School’s pass rate decreased from 85.1% to 83.6%. In 2017 228 pupils wrote and 194 passed and in 2018 177 pupils wrote and 148 passed.   
Principal Andre Kraak said: “I’m not going to make any excuses but there were factors that impacted on our learners’ attendance and performance, such as the violence in Lavender Hill. At all schools we try every year to achieve one hundred percent success for every child because every child’s success is important to us. But our children must change their mindset and start realising that education is the key that can unlock their future and parents must play a more active role in the lives of their kids and encourage their kids not to embrace mediocrity but to strive for excellence at all times,” said Mr Kraak.

He thanked staff for the efforts and acknowledged sponsors and their parent volunteers for their work at the school.  
Fairmount High School principal Terrence Klassen said gang shootings and the housing protests last year had an impact on pupils.  
Fairmount High School’s pass rate decreased from 89.6 % to 80 %. In 2017 96 pupils wrote and 86 passed and in 2018 110 pupils wrote and 88 passed. 
“Pupils couldn’t come to after school academic classes and absenteeism was an issue because of the instability in their community environment. They had to duck and dive bullets from opposing gangs However, every year we work towards a 100% pass rate and we won’t give up on that goal,” said Mr Klassen. 
Christel House in Ottery had a 100% pass rate where all 50 pupils passed.

Crestway High School’s pass rate increased from 69.3 % to 70.7. In 2017 88 pupils wrote and 61 passed and in 2018 82 pupils wrote and 58 passed.
Grassdale High School’s pass rate increased from 91.2% to 93.3%. In 2017 91 pupils wrote and 83 passed and in 2018 120 pupils wrote and 112 passed.