Sonwabo Primary School was among the schools in the province which were honoured for their sterling work when the provincial Department of Education held its annual LITNUM (literacy and numeracy) awards on Tuesday February 26.
Zanemfumdo, Siyazakha and Sonwabo primary schools were the top three schools in the excellence in academic performance category for mathematics in Grades 3 and 6.
Sonwabo Primary School also came in fifth place in the category of overall improvement in academic performance for both grades.
The systemic awards are aimed at recognising the endless efforts that teachers implement in ensuring that they deliver quality education. MEC for Education, Debbie Schafer, said one of the Western Cape Education department’s main priorities was to close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged schools. Ms Schafer said they wanted to provide quality education for every child in every classroom and in every school.
But most importantly, she said, it was important that there were more pupils taking pure mathematics and passing with 50%.
She said a good education is essential to grow the economy and can reduce the high youth unemployment rate.
As a result of our country’s history, she said, there were still disparities between poorer and wealthier communities, within provinces, between urban and rural schools and between provinces.
But she said one of the greatest challenges facing the government was how to provide efficient and equitable access to education.
She said the education department and provincial government had placed a huge emphasis on improving education in poorer communities and that was yielding the desired results.
She said according to their systemic results, the gap between previously advantaged and disadvantaged schools was slowly closing.
“While there is a disparity between no fee quintile 1 to 3 schools and Quintile 5 schools – there are, however, evident gains. Quintile 1 to 3 schools (“township schools”) are also catching up in terms of performance to Quintile 4 and 5 schools. I am extremely proud of the achievements of all three schools and all the other schools that saw improvements in their results last year. “Congratulations to the principals and their teams. Their determination and hard work has paid off with the real winners being the learners at the school. It is not easy being a principal or a teacher in schools that have been disadvantaged, and often still are, but we really do have dedicated people who want to help improve education in our poorest communities, and I salute them, “ she said.
Sonwabo Primary School principal Bongani Dlwathi said the school had received R10 000 to buy school tools for their academic improvement. He said the school was pitted against other township schools. He said when he took over the school three years ago he immediately implemented a three-year plan to improve the academic performance.
Mr Dlwathi said in 2015 the school received 63.4% in the systematic results for maths while in 2016 it had 44.3% for Grade 3. But he said in 2018 the school received 93.6%. He said for Grade 6 the school received 98.6% in 2018.
He said such systemic tests are used to assess their pupils and see what kind of intervention strategies are needed to ensure the pupils perform better.
“We are happy about our results. This is a team effort. We want to remain a top school,” he said.