UMkhanyakude Dis­trict’s bit­ter­sweet class of 2017 ma­tric pass rate

Northern Eyethu - - NEWS • IZINDABA -

AS an­other year rolls around, head­lines are once again dom­i­nated by back to school sto­ries.

Whether it’s ma­tric pass rates or first day of ‘big school’ for the lit­tle ones, school news takes cen­tre stage at this time of year.

And rightly so. Ed­u­ca­tion is im­por­tant.

But for uMkhanyakude Dis­trict, school news this year has been bit­ter­sweet.

The good news is that, de­spite be­ing one of the two most de­prived dis­tricts in the coun­try ac­cord­ing to the Dis­trict Health Barom­e­ter, uMkhanyakude se­cured third spot in KZN’s 2017 ma­tric pass rate rank­ings.

With an over­all pass rate of 77% which is a 7.84% im­prove­ment on the dis­trict’s 2016 ma­tric re­sults, uMkhanyakude’s 2017 ma­tric pass rate sur­passed that of the coun­try’s na­tional pass rate.

This is an im­pres­sive feat con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of ru­ral schools equipped with the barest of ne­ces­si­ties teach­ing chil­dren from equally ru­ral home­steads, many of which have no elec­tric­ity.

These chil­dren have to study by can­dle­light, so­lar lights if some kind per­son or com­pany has do­nated them, or stretch their school week over the week­end just to be able to put in enough day­light study hours.

These chil­dren, as well as their ded­i­cated school prin­ci­pals and teach­ers, cer­tainly need to be con­grat­u­lated.

On the flip side, one school in uMkhanyakude was named as one of the 13 low­est per­form­ing schools in the prov­ince, with a ma­tric pass rate of lower than 40% for at least the past five years.

While rea­sons can be made to ex­cuse this con­tin­ued poor per­for­mance, the dis­trict’s over­all marks re­flect what can be done with some ef­fort.

It’s sad to think of what will be­come of those learn­ers ma­tric­u­lat­ing from these un­der-per­form­ing schools.

What kind of fu­ture are they step­ping into? The poverty cy­cle is per­pet­u­ated.

Mo­ti­va­tion comes from the top. It’s high time for the prin­ci­pals of these schools to mo­ti­vate their teach­ers who will in turn mo­ti­vate the chil­dren into putting in more ef­fort.

If most of the dis­trict can get good grades, ev­ery school in the dis­trict can.

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