The past two years have truly tested the perseverance of South Africans – especially our pupils and those who had to sit for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.
The Western Cape boasted a 81.2% matric pass rate for the class of 2021, an increase of 1.3% from 2020’s 79.2% but.
Results in the Southern Mail distribution area were a mixed bag and many schools’ matric pass rates dropped.
Principals cited the extraordinary challenges they faced including the death of teachers who succumbed to Covid-19, absenteeism by pupils and staff who had to isolate when they were infected with the virus and other factors.
The significant amount of contact time pupils lost with teachers because of lockdown regulations is also one of the factors mentioned by Heathfield High School principal Wesley Neumann who said the school’s results came with mixed feelings, with a pass rate of 76% from 2020’s 84%.
Two staff members died and Mr Neumann was facing disciplinary action by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for his stance on lockdown and other issues but despite this pupils put their best foot forward.
“Our learners’ achievement bears testimony to their dedication, commitment, perseverance, resilience and tenacity to uphold the proud Heathfield High School ethos of excellence,” said Mr Neumann.
Fairmount and Lotus High’s results also slightly dropped from 82.2% to 70.4% and 76.0% to 75.9% respectively.
Fairmount High principal Terrence Klassen was a bit disappointed with their results and spoke about the impact Covid had, including teachers who lost their spouses, the rotational timetable and other factors such as crime.
“The teachers were fully committed but besides the obvious struggles, learners also had varying issues like not being able to attend extra classes because of gang shootings in Parkwood,” said Mr Klassen.
Lotus High principal Benny Pietersen expected and hoped for more but was happy with the results.
He said the 0.1% drop implies the school has maintained a standard and progressed from their 2019 results of 59.3%: “From this we can build towards an even better result every year with the commitment of our teachers and learners alike.”
Steenberg High School did very well with a pass rate of 92.7%, up from 2020’s 66.5%.
Principal Isaac Arendse was elated with the results. The school had been graded as an underperforming school by the WCED because of their 2020 pass rate but beamed with pride when their results were announced last week.
“The department blamed the school for under performing but not taking into consideration what the learners went through, it was a difficult year,” he said.
The staff worked overtime and brainstormed what was needed to get the best performance out of their pupils including extra classes and tutor sessions.
“We always go above and beyond for our pupils but last year we worked tirelessly to make sure learners had all the support they needed. The learners then showed more commitment and that is how we managed to succeed.”
South Peninsula High School achieved a 97.4% pass rate. Principal Zeid Baker believes the quality of passes were much better than last year and attributes the success in a challenging Covid-19 year to the hard work and perseverance of students and teachers, and the support of parents. He said targets were set for the matric class of 2021 at the beginning of the year, which were regularly monitored and revisited.
Mr Baker added that the aim of the school is to achieve a 100% Bachelors Pass in this year’s November examinations and a 100% Pure Mathematics pass.
Results for other schools in the Southern Mail distribution area are: Christel House Academy 95.3%, Crestway High 58.2%, Grassdale High 94.1%, Grassy Park High 84.0%, Immaculata High 93.3%, Sibelius High 73.9%, Lavender Hill High 77.5%, Pelican Park High 94.0%, Wittebome High 56.2%, Wynberg High 85.0%, Zeekoevlei High 94.8%, Zwaanswyk High 87.1%.