Zille sa­lutes Western Cape’s ma­tric top achiev­ers

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - EDUCATION - LUKE FOLB

PRE­MIER He­len Zille paid tribute to aca­demic ex­cel­lence at her of­fi­cial res­i­dence, Leeuwen­hof, on Thurs­day, at an event to hon­our the prov­ince’s top per­form­ing ma­tric­u­lants and schools.

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Deb­bie Schäfer placed par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on schools that had over­come great ad­ver­sity and beaten the odds to achieve some of the prov­ince’s best results in the 2017 Senior Cer­tifi­cate ex­ams.

Aloe Se­condary School in Mitchells Plain was named the most im­proved school over a three-year pe­riod, achiev­ing an ag­gre­gate im­prove­ment in their pass rate of 56.7% and an 87% pass rate for 2017.

“I must com­mend the prin­ci­pals and teach­ers who coura­geously face chal­lenges ev­ery day and strive to cre­ate a sta­ble teach­ing and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for our learn­ers when there is vi­o­lence and fear just out­side the school gate,” Schäfer said.

Prin­ci­pal Envil Wertheim said the staff and pupils had made enor­mous sac­ri­fices in or­der to suc­ceed over the past three years.

“We teach un­der tough con­di­tions and it’s not only our school that is do­ing well but al­most ev­ery school in Mitchells Plain. I said to my staff that we have to make the school a haven for our pupils and we had to make school­ing an in­vig­o­rat­ing and ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Wertheim.

He added that the great­est chal­lenges faced by schools in the area in­cluded crime and a lack of fund­ing.

Schäfer also praised Clare­mont High School for their im­pres­sive results, which saw the school fin­ish joint eighth in the prov­ince with Wyn­berg Boys’ High School.

“Clare­mont was born out of a part­ner­ship with Wester­ford High School. The aim was to try and repli­cate the suc­cess of Wester­ford, fo­cus­ing specif­i­cally on maths and science for dis­ad­van­taged learn­ers.

“It has been a real col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort, with teach­ers even be­ing shared be­tween the two schools. This year they at­tained a po­si­tion in one of our top spots with a 100% pass rate and an 87.8% bach­e­lor’s pass rate,” she said.

Clare­mont High was founded in 2011 when nearby Wester­ford High School was given the task of over­see­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the school by the Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment.

The school has con­tin­ued to grow from strength to strength, said prin­ci­pal Mur­ray Gib­bon.

“We be­gan a part­ner­ship with Wester­ford with the idea that they sort of nur­ture us. They gave us a lot of sup­port in terms of work­ing to­gether, shar­ing ex­ams and staff and plan­ning to­gether and now we’re pretty much on our own feet.

“The next goal is to get a 100% bach­e­lor’s pass rate.

The vi­sion is for ev­ery one of our pupils to go to ter­tiary, which make many of them the first in their fam­i­lies,” said Gib­bon.

Mean­while, the prov­ince’s top three stu­dents – Janke van Dyk, Matthys Louis Carstens and Erin Michael Solomon – said they were in awe of the achieve­ments of pupils who did not have the same re­sources.

“I think it’s amaz­ing to achieve against all those odds that were stacked against them it’s ac­tu­ally very in­spir­ing,” said Van Dyk.

PIC­TURE: CINDY WAXA/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY/ANA

The an­nual ma­tric awards were held at Pre­mier He­len Zille’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence, Leeuwen­hof, this week.

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