Manzomthombo High School, in Mfuleni, is reaping the rewards of studying in modern science and computer laboratories.
The school is one of the first in the province to benefit from the ambitious SAME Foundation initiative.
In 2016 the school received four additional classrooms and three laboratories to ignite maths and science among pupils. Since then, the pass rate has increased significantly.
The SA Medical and Education (SAME) foundation is a non-profit initiative designed to unearth and up skill black pupils in mathematics and science.
The foundation sources funds to develop state-of-the-art science laboratories at township schools, to ensure that black pupils had an equal and fair chance of success in maths and science like their white counterparts.
Many schools have benefited from the initiative with Zimasa Primary School, in Langa, and ID Mkhize High School, in Gugulethu, being the latest.
Manzomthombo deputy principal, Faith Modjadji-Qavana, says the school has seen a significant improvement in results and a change of attitude towards the subject among pupils.
She said over the last few years the overall school pass rate was between 80 and 90%. She explained that the maths pass rate among the Grade 12 pupils in 2015 was 45% and 2016 in there was a bit of improvement as it reached 56 percent. But she said last year things changed for better.
Ms Modjadji-Qavana said the overall pass rate was 93% for the school while the overall pass rate for maths was 94%.
Ms Modjadji-Qavana said the school was also praised by the Department of Education for its improvement for the Grade 9 provincial annual systematic tests.
She said effective teaching and learning of science involves a perpetual state of show and tell.
She explains that the lab has allowed teachers to combine classroom teaching with laboratory experiments to ensure that the pupils grasp each and every concept thoroughly. But most importantly, she said she believes that that laboratory teaching and experiments that are being conducted there help encourage deep understanding in the learning experience among the pupils.
“Pupils are able to retain the knowledge for longer when they see the experiments being performed in front of their eyes,” said Ms Modjadji-Qavana. “There are several scientific theories and concepts that are difficult to explain directly from the books. But the lab has made it easy to understand those complex theories. School science lab equipment and supplies make teaching and learning easy both for the teachers, as well as for the students.”
Ms Modjadji-Qavana said the pupils got a first-hand learning experience by performing various experiments on their own. She said the staff morale was also high and contributed positively to the school. She said the school has set itself a 95% pass rate for this year .
She added that the foundation continued to provide support to the school.
As part of the Mandela Day celebrations, in July, she said the foundation has promised to paint 12 classrooms.
Ms Modjadji-Qavana said it was extremely difficult to teach in overcrowded classrooms. She said they struggled and were unable to conduct one-on-one teaching sessions with pupils. She said as the school they strive to continue improving the school’s academic performance.
Like any other township school, Ms Modjadji-Qavana said they faced countless challenge such financial constraints and limited resources, but they always strived to provide quality education.