Matriculants show resilience

Modderdam High School’s top matriculants, are, from left, Thaqierah Williams, Nathaniel Serelina, Cameron Elliott, Charne Louw, and Annushka Isaacs, with principal Rona Rayray.

Matriculants in the greater Athlone area have shown their resilience in the face of a pandemic, with more than half of the schools either increasing or maintaining their pass rates of the previous year.

Of the 26 schools in the area, pass rates rose at 10, stayed the same at four and dropped at 12.

Ned Doman High School showed the most improvement, with an 18% increase. Their class of 2020 achieved a 81.3% pass, up from 63% in 2019.

Principal Gwynne Philander said he was thrilled with the improvement, but schools should not be judged by their matric results alone.

“Many children at our school come from difficult backgrounds. Some can only read at Grade-1 level when they start Grade 8. One must look at the growth from Grade 8 to Grade 12 to make an accurate assessment.”

He praised the teachers at his school, saying: “All the credit should go to our teachers, who found ways of teaching and did not shy away from any extra effort. Our children matter, and we do care about them.

“The year 2020 challenged us to be better, and I am extremely proud of our teachers, who put in the extra effort in their technique of teaching. Using WhatsApp, it took an enormous time for teaching. I am also grateful that our pupils did not take their efforts for granted, while they were also being self-directed in their learning.”

Star College – both its boys’ and girls’ campuses – was the only school in the area with a 100% pass rate for 2020 and 2019. The boys’ campus in Bridgetown also achieved a 100% university-entrance, or Bachelors, pass and the girls’ campus in Sybrand Park achieved a 95.7% Bacherlors pass.

Deputy principal Edrees Alexander said they had given the pupils extra support to cope with the impact of Covid-19.

“We tried to keep our school open for as long as the restrictions would allow, and we also had online schooling, using platforms such as WhatsApp, Zoom and Google Classroom. The Zoom lessons were recorded so the learners were able to go back to it, should they need to. The Western Cape Education Department also made resources available online,” he said.

Although Modderdam High School’s pass rate dropped to 47.2%, compared to 2019’s pass rate of 66.4%, principal Rona Rayray said she was proud of all the effort put in by the teachers.

“Our teachers have been very supportive. If a learner needed counselling, extra help with school work, food, or even money for data, they went out of their way and dug in their own pockets to assist. I am very proud of my staff. Even though our pass rate dropped, we managed to achieve a total of 48 distinctions in life orientation,” she said.

The nine other schools with increased pass rates are Athlone High, with 7% more than the previous year, at 68.7%; Belgravia High, with 0.3% more at 90.2%; Bonteheuwel High with 5% more at 75.8%; Bridgetown High with 6.4% more at 75%; Eros School with 7% more at 91.2%; Heideveld High with 14.5% more at 82.9%; Mount View with 14.3% more at 63.6%; Rylands High School with 8.8% more at 97.8% pass; and The Leadership College with 5% more at 94.4%.

Alexander Sinton dropped from 91.4% to 85.1%, Cathkin High from 77.5% to 63.2%; Crystal High from 66.1% to 49.1%; Garlandale from 81% to 77.8%; Groenvlei from 84.6% to 77.4%; Islamia College from 97.9% to 92.4%; Peak View from 79.2% to 69.5%; Phoenix High from 72.9% to 52.2%; Silverstream High from 60% to 35%; Spes Bona from 64.2% to 55.1%; Stonefountain College Athlone from 63.6% to 62.5%.

Apart from Star College, Arcadia High also maintained its 61% pass, as did Darul Islam Islamic High with 73.6%, and Manenberg High with 30%.