Tough education challenges raised
PREGNANT exam writers and drugs in school marred the past matric outcomes. Education District Director Dr David Chonco made these assertions at a celebratory brunch in Richards Bay on Friday, hosted by King Cetshwayo District Mayor Nonhle Mkhulisi to honour the district´s top five matrics. Held at Premier Hotel The Richards, the event provided a platform for district representatives to meet and greet top learners: Lethokuhle Mgabi of Empangeni High School, Malibongwe Radebe ( Khombindlela High), Akona Busani (Dlangezwa High), Kayashan Moodaly and Nikita Munyen of Richards Bay High School (fifth) and to hear about their future plans and aspirations. Learners who attained 100% in various subjects were also in attendance−Tisand High School´s Sphelele Gumede, who attained full marks for physical science and English (additional language) and Siyanda Zakwe for electrical technology power system, Mthokozii Mhlongo (Bizimali High) for maths and physical science and Nombuso Gumede (eMkhayideni High) for technical science. Mkhulisi encouraged the learners to be ready for life´s challenges and to remember the wise words of their parents, families and teachers. `As a parent, I will advise you that we all need helpers on our journey and you need to remain focused and disciplined as you venture off to tertiary studies; always use the life skills you have been taught,´ she said. Welcoming the congratulatory messages on the district´s improved pass rate, increased bachelor passes and top achievers results, Education District Director Dr David Chonco admitted he was not happy with the overall performance and indicated the district must improve by at least 6−8% this year. `We have noted that some schools have dropped in their performances and these are mainly from the Richards Bay area; drug lords are destablising our good schools and we need our parents to help us overcome this challenge. `We noted that our Eshowe circuit performed well, Mtunzini improved the most and the best performance was received in the City of uMhlathuze. `At eSikhaleni we had learners loitering in the streets in the past and parents and the community got involved and now that is no longer an issue,´ he said. Other challenges plaguing the department included teenage pregnancies. `We have an increased number of girls who wrote their matric exams in hospital as they were pregnant. `We are a schooling system, not a hospital and need to promote a campaign to educate them that sex can wait. `It is difficult to write when you are pregnant and in pain in hospital; we discourage it because there are many complications and learners need to focus completely on their studies,´ said Chonco.