MEC upbeat about matric examinations

Education MEC Debbie Schafer addresses pupils at Fezeka High School.

With less than 20 days to the National Senior Certificate Exams (NSC) 2017, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it is confident that all matrics in the province are ready to write.

Fezeka High School pupils told Education MEC Debbie Schäfer on Tuesday that they wer confident they would pass their exams.

Ms Schäfer visited Fezeka where 158 matric candidates are participating in the Grade 12 Spring Holiday Programme. The WCED has organised spring schools for matrics across the province.

The department said the programmes would help pupils in high enrolment subjects. More than 10 000 matrics are attending the spring schools this year. It stressed that providing curriculum support to Grade 12 pupils was always a priority, and spring schools programme was just one of the many ways the WCED was helping Grade 12 pupils.

Speaking after the visit, Ms Schäfer said her department was not anticipating any challenges prior or during the writing of final matric examinations.

She said she was pleased with the province’s preparations for the upcoming matric final examinations.

“It is all system go. We are very ready. All our staff including teachers are on top of things,” she said.

However, she said 2017 was a difficult year. “It has been very tough. We had huge financial challenge. We are not getting the amount of money that we need from National Treasury but we had to make plans.

“Another challenges was the huge number of children from other provinces like Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. We had to cater for such big numbers.

“There has been bullying, drugs and gangs at some of the schools. But we managed to quell them and forge forward. And those are societal problems and not of the department. But we had to act on them,” she said.

She told the pupils not to stress too much.

Ms Schäfer asked them to put their minds to what they were doing and never do drugs because drugs would not take them anywhere in life.

She said the province had been on an upward trend, despite the challenges it had been facing. She said her department wanted to keep as many pupils at school as it could.

Ms Schäfer said she was confident the province and the schools would improve on their pass rates.

Fezeka principal, Kevin Hockey said his school was ready to write.

He said his teachers and children had worked tirelessly to improve the pass rate and the school’s target was not less than 85 percent.

“I’m very confident from what I have seen and what I planted that they are ready for the exams. Everything is on par. We are more than ready. This school must be the best here,” Mr Hockey said.

He said the school had run workshops to deal with bullying and disrespect to have a better working and playing environment.

He said children needed to own the school.

Mr Hockey said he was a happy man to be in Gugulethu and working at Fezeka.

“For me it is the happiest place to live in. There is talent here that needs to be harnessed. When I arrived at the school nine months ago, there were bad habits but that has since changed.

“My staff have made things easy for me. They are working hard to see the children getting their education. My personal target is 85 percent but more will be better,” he said.