‘Plain matrics beat the odds

Pupils need to attend school for a sense of purpose and a place of safety when they are learning. And pupils who attended school regularly despite the unprecedented challenged posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, generally did better than those who did not attend regularly.

These were among the comments made by Mitchell’s Plain principals this week when the matric results of the Class of 2020 were announced.

For the first time since 2010, the Western Cape has achieved a pass rate of less than 80%, coming in third with the pass rate of 79.9%, behind Free State with 85.1%, and Gauteng with a 83.8% pass rate.

When she announced the results on Monday February 22, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate was 76.2%, nationally, which was down 5.1% from the record pass of 81.3% achieved by the class of 2019.

In Mitchell’s Plain, Darul Arqam Islamic High School in Eastridge, is the only school to have achieved a 100% pass rate.

Sheikh Ebrahim Dawood, principal of Darul Arqam Islamic High School in Eastridge, the only Mitchell’s Plain school to achieve a 100% matric pass rate for 2020.

Founded in 1992, the school in Baobab Street, was formerly known as Mitchell’s Plain Islamic Girls High School.

Principal Sheikh Ebrahim Dawood said their motto for 2020 was “Resilience through adversity”.Next week the Plainsman will publish an in-depth interview with the school on how they managed this remarkable feat amidst a global pandemic.

At Mondale High School in Portland, 237 pupils wrote the NSC exam last year, achieving a 99.6% pass rate.

Top matriculants at Mondale High School.

Principal Owen Bridgens did not have much to say when matriculants came to collect their results at noon yesterday, Tuesday February 23, but encouraged those who were not too happy with their results to apply to have their examination scripts remarked, which could improve their marks or mean passing subjects. “Good luck and thank you for being Mondalians,” he said.

Mr Bridgens told the Plainsman it had been a tough year for all schools. “Pupils and family members had fears of getting sick and had comorbidities, which made them not come to school,” he said.

He congratulated top pupil Danielle Fortuin who had an aggregate of 85.7%, achieving six distinctions for Afrikaans (83%); mathematics (87%); life orientation (87%); accounting (97%); life sciences (88%); and physical sciences (87%).

In second position was Andrea Taylor who achieved an aggregate of 84.6%, with distinctions in Afrikaans (82%); mathematics (94%); life orientation (82%); accounting (90%); life sciences (84%) and physical sciences (84%).

Mr Bridgens said it was important for pupils to be at school for a sense of purpose and a place of safety – where they were learning. “Outside there are a lot negative influences and we want them at school thriving,” said Mr Bridgens.

Spine Road High School principal Mark Fairbairn said he was very happy with their 98% pass rate, especially in the Covid-19 environment. A total of 306 pupils wrote the exam, with only six not succeeding.

Spine Road High School matriculant Lesley Shonhiwa who achieved seven distinctions with an average of 87.57%.

He said this had been the school’s biggest matric class but they still achieved 219 Bachelor passes and 13 pupils with an average of 80% or more.

Mr Fairbairn congratulated top pupil Moegsien McCluskey who achieved an 88.57% average and six distinctions; and Lesley Shonhiwa who achieved seven distinctions with an average of 87.57%

Spine Road High School matriculant Lesley Shonhiwa, who achieved seven distinctions with an average of 87.57%, said: “The only recipe was the hard work of the teachers, who pulled together and worked as a team; the resilience of the pupils and the support of parents.”

He said quite a few pupils stayed away because of fear and anxiety around the pandemic.

“I congratulate them because this is the first time we were confronted with such a major event like a pandemic,” said Mr Fairbairn. “How they came to the party was exemplary and nothing should hold the class of 2021 back.”.

Nigel Pelston, principal of Rocklands High School which achieved an 83.6% pass rate, said he was disappointed but hopeful for the class of 2021.

He said they were strategising, based on what had worked last year. “Last year quite a few matriculants did not come regularly. This year they are coming every day,” he said.

“Those who were here regularly succeeded and those who didn’t, struggled,” said Mr Pelston. “You can’t do it on your own. You need your teachers,” he said.

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman, Unathi Booi, said each school could attribute their success to a variety of factors.

“However, much of the success of schools is the commitment shown by teachers to support their Grade 12 pupils. Many of our teachers ’reinvented’ their teaching styles during hard lockdown to ensure that pupils had access to resources and lessons, online and paper-based,” she said.

“They worked hours on end to prepare online lessons and additional lesson sheets that could be collected by pupils without access to technology.

“We also acknowledge the principals and teachers who returned to schools with a clear purpose – to ensure quality continuous teaching – even in times of uncertainty and fear,” she said.

Ms Booi said in the coming weeks further analysis on the Metro South Education District needs to be done to determine why some schools improved while others did not

– additional reporting by Cape Argus

● The Plainsman erroneously published the wrong results for Darul Arqam Islamic High School in its print edition this week, mixing up the school’s results with that of Darul Islamic High School, in the Metro Central education district. We apologise for this error and will correct it also in our upcoming print edition.

Pass rates of Mitchell’s Plain schools:

Darul Arqam Islamic High School 100%

Mondale High School 99.6%

Spine Road High School 98%

Strandfontein High School 88.5%

Portland High School 81.3%

Rocklands High School 83.6%

Oval North High School 80.8%

Glendale High School 78%

Lentegeur High School 74.5%

Westridge High School 71.4%

Cedar High School 70.7%

Beacon Hill High School 66.4%

Tafelsig High School 66.9%

AZ Berman High School 65.3%

Aloe Secondary School 59%

Woodlands High School 59%

Princeton High School 50.7%