UMkhanyakude District’s bittersweet class of 2017 matric pass rate
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.