Nail-biting anxiety gave way to jubilation as matrics at New Eisleben High School in Crossroads received their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results last week.
The school’s pass rate increased by more than 20 percentage points to 68.05 percent and one pupil received four distinctions. In previous years, the pass rate has hovered at about 40 percent.
The pupils joined their peers from around the province and in other parts of the country in celebration, following weeks of anxiety and sleepless nights while waiting for the results.
The matrics completed their examinations in November last year, and had to wait more than a month to know their fate and kick-start their plans for the future.
And the wait finally came to an end on Wednesday and Thursday last week when Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the results, in Johannesburg.
The minister said there had been a slight improvement in last year’s results, from 74 percent to 76.2 percent in 2016.
The Western Cape achieved a 87.7 percent pass rate, second to the Free State with 93.2 percent.
On Thursday, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer visited New Eisleben High to congratulate the pupils and teachers on the school’s good results. Earlier, there had been scenes of jubilation as ecstatic pupils celebrated and hugged one another.
There were similar scenes at Siphamandla High School, in Kuyasa, one of the top-performing schools in Khayelitsha with a 96.4 percent pass rate.
Principal Andile Magadla said that of 167 pupils who had written the exams only six failed and 87 pupils obtained Bachelor’s passes.
For the past three years, the school had scored a pass rate above 90 percent, and now it had set its sights on 100 percent, said Mr Magadla.
New Eisleben principal Lindile Kamana praised teachers, parents and members of the school governing body (SGB) for their hard work.
Mr Kamana said that 147 of the 216 matriculants who had written the exams had passed.
Gangsterism and drugs were just some of the many challenges the school faced, he said, adding that the decision to form a disciplinary committee had paid dividends.
“We are extremely proud that we did not only improve our results, but we managed to have two top achievers.
“One of the top achievers obtained four distinctions in four major subjects: physical science, maths, life science and geography. And the other obtained three distinctions in major subjects as well.
“Our target is now 80 percent, but we want to gradually improve the results before we reach that target. We have also implemented some stiff strategies which would assist us in ensuring that we produce intellectuals and leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
Ms Schäfer said the school’s achievements were remarkable given its under-performance over the past five years and the fact that the number of pupils had risen from 136 in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
Zihle Ncamava, the school’s second highest achiever, said he had not yet decided where and what course to study.
The 18-year-old has been accepted at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of the Western Cape and at Wits University. He plans to eitherstudy civil engineering or medical laboratory science.
“We had to work hard,” he said. “We had to sacrifice a lot of things. We had to focus on reaching our goals.
“You also had to be persistent. It is about being able to say no to things you like and things you want to do because you need to put your studies first.”