Siyazingisa Primary School, in Gugulethu, walked away with at least four certificates for the most improved school in Circuit 2 at the Central District Awards, held last Wednesday in Athlone.
The school was one of many that participated in the Department of Education’s systemic evaluation tests. The tests, for Grades 3, 6 and 9 pupils, identify challenges faced by pupils.
With its own mountain of challenges, Siyazingisa was honoured for significant improvement in maths and English among third and sixth graders. The school was the only one from the previously disadvantaged communities to scoop awards.
A thrilled English teacher, Vuyani Sijako, told Vukani it was the first time sixth graders had received the certificate for improvement. The lack of reading material and other resources had done little to dampen teachers’ and pupils’ spirits, he said.
He added that the school strived for success and to reach new heights.
“According to the test results, the school improved by 10 percent in both subjects. It was not the first time that our Grade 3 pupils had received a certificate in the tests.
“These certificates did not come as a surprise to us, because we had put in a lot of hard work in ensuring that we are continuously improving the teaching standards at the school. We aim to do better than this,” he said.
Mr Sijako said his teaching method in English was unique. He encourages his pupils to first speak the language before writing it. Although English is the first additional language at the school, Mr Sijako said he also taught English to his pupils as a home language because he wanted them to master it. He also praised his colleagues for their hard work.
Principal Noludwe Nonkonyana said although the school was thrilled with its achievements, it grappled with many challenges, such as absenteeism and a lack of books and computers. She also complained about the lack of support from parents and appealed to them to back the school so it could continue to make progress.
Seventh grader Sisipho Nqadala, 12, said she was thrilled that the school had received the certificates. She said it showed that hard work paid off. “Our teachers sacrifice their time and attend afternoon classes, because they want us to have a bright future, and they are always encouraging us to do everything to the best of our abilities,” she said.