Sithembele Matiso High School was among the schools in the province who were given special mention for their improved matric results, at an awards ceremony held by Premier Helen Zille at her Leeuwenhof residence last week.
The school came second in a list of nine most improved public schools which had boosted their results over the past three years.
Their pass rate was 53.8% in 2015, 64.3% in 2016 and 85% in 2017.
The Nyanga school also topped the list for the greatest increase in the percentage of Bachelor’s passes over the past three years, from 16.5% in 2015 to 37% in 2017.
A Bachelor’s pass allows the matriculant to apply to study at a university.
ID Mkhize High School in Gugulethu was also recognised for increasing their number of Bachelor’s passes from 19.1% in 2015 to 39% in 2017, making number three on the list, while Phakama High School in Philippi came in at number eight, increasing from 20% in 2015 to 34% in 2017.
Phakama came fifth on the list of most improved schools. Their pass rate was 65.8% in 2015, 69% in 2016 and a whopping 80% in 2017.
Intsebenziswano High School, also in Philippi, came seventh on the list, with 67.5% in 2015, 75.7% in 2016 and 79% in 2017.
The criteria for this category also included consistency in the number of Grade 12 candidates over the pass three years.
The MEC for Education Debbie Schafer applauded the progress and improvement shown by these schools.
“I am happy for them and their great achievement. Schools from the formerly disadvantaged areas have really done well. If you remember last year a top science school was from those areas. What makes me happy is the fact that they did not only have a number of passes but have produced more Bachelor’s. That we means our education is quality. Our vision is not just education but quality education and the retention of pupils at schools,” she said.
Elated Sithembele Matiso principal, Vusi Ntlahla, said he was proud that the class of 2017 managed to increase his school’s pass rate to 85% despite all the problems they faced.
He attributed their success to multiple factors including parents’ involvement, teachers’ work ethic, school management, the school’s governing body and the support form the education department.
Mr Ntlahla said the school had put a five-year plan in place which was now paying dividends.
“It is a combination of different things that has put us here today. We had to reflect on ourselves as teachers and ask questions. Where is it that we need to improve, what is it that we need to do, do we go to classes prepared, do we come to school on time? And many other questions. We had to put a system of monitoring in place. But in the end we had to be a good example to these children. That improved the quality of education,” he said.
But he said it was not all plain sailing and there were challenges.
He said a lack of commitment and discipline from the pupils was among the problems they had. He said teachers had to have a good connection with the children.
“But I must emphasise that dedication, commitment, and support from all the parties helped improve. The teachers had to stay weekends, teaching children.
“They motivated and encouraged them to work hard. We all know that if children are not motivated it becomes a challenge. To wrap it up, it was teamwork that made us a success,” he said.