Province fails to make the top 22
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DESPITE promises from the Gauteng Department of Education that the province’s pupils would be the top achievers, not even one was among the top matriculants who celebrated their results with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga yesterday morning.
Motshekga met the 22 candidates from across the country at Vodaworld in Midrand to celebrate their brilliant results.
Speaking to the candidates, Motshekga said they were the “top of the crop”.
“This is the beginning, not a destination for you. We urge you to continue to lead our country. You proved you can,” Motshekga said, adding that the candidates were ambassadors for the public education system.
She encouraged young people to abstain from alcohol and drugs and instead concentrate on education.
“As a community and as South Africans we must continue to educate our young people about the dangers of alcohol, sex and drugs.”
She said young people’s personal circumstances should not stop them from achieving great results. “Personal circumstances must not condemn a child to dire poverty and underachieving.”
This rang true for Talenta Matiane from Jim Chavani High School in Limpopo, one of the best-performing candidates in quintile 2 schools. The candidate said it was because of the support of his school and family that he was able to achieve his good marks.
Despite unrest in the Vuwani area at the beginning of last year leading to the closure and burning of schools for several weeks and the exam paper leak in the Vhembe district, Limpopo has 12 of the best-performing candidates in the country. Gauteng candidates did not make it to the list of top-performing candidates in spite of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi saying last month that the province’s candidates would be the best performing in the country.
He accused North West, Free State and Western Cape of keeping back pupils in Grade 11 so as to do well in matric.
During the final exams last year it was found that the twoexam maths papers were leaked. The principal of an independent school has since been arrested. The department has said results for two schools in the Giyani area will not be released, pending investigations.
Conrad Strydom from Hermanus High School in the Western Cape, one of the top performers in maths and physical science, admitted it had not been an easy journey.
During his matric year, Conrad won first place in the South African Physics Olympiad.
He said it was hard to balance his school work and extramural activities.
“The Olympiad stands out for me. But I was also running around being in the school representative council, so that took up quite a bit of my time. For the rest of the time I was studying.”
He said he had not expected to be one of the best achievers in the country.
“I don’t think it’s a thing you can expect, but I was hoping. I was studying the whole year. I was doing revision during the holidays as well.”
To prepare for the exams, Conrad, 19, said he wrote notes that he revised from, and he didn’t rest during the holidays.
He said physical science was his passion, and he plans to study theoretical science at the University of Stellenbosch.