Matric pupils shine

Camps Bay High School's top pupils - Hannah Barnes (head prefect and 10th in school), Erin Mamacos (20th), Sean Pape (5th), Mila-Rose van der Spuy (19th), Anna Emery (joint second), Kale Boyes (8th) and Gia Abbott (7th).

Emotions ran high at different schools on the Atlantic seaboard as matriculants collected their results on Wednesday, January 8.

While Herzlia High School and Jan Van Riebeeck High School maintained their 100% pass rate, Sea Point High School and Vista High School dropped from 88.3% in 2018 to 82% in 2019 and 79% to 66.7%, respectively.

Camps Bay High also saw a slight drop from 99.2% in 2018 to 98.5% in 2019.

Good Hope Seminary High School recorded 98.8% from 97.4% in 2018 with only one pupil failing.

Principal Leon Linz said he was happy with the results because he wasn’t certain what the outcome would be. “We were told that 50% of schools’ marks have dropped down in the district,” he said.

Mr Linz said 72% of their pupils got a Bachelor’s pass and this was all thanks to a team effort and he was grateful to his colleagues for the tremendous effort that they had made in ensuring the success. He said this was not just about the top pupils but also about others who have been encouraged to work hard and to put more effort in their studies.

“It’s an achievement that attests to the spirit, the hard work of pupils and the commitment of teachers who never gave up on our pupils,” he said.

Mr Linz said they always think about what more can be done to get higher marks and more distinctions but he was proud of what the class of 2019 has achieved.

Top student at the school, Siyamthanda Ndawo, said the exam papers were challenging and she expected the worst. “I’m overwhelmed by the results. I studied hard, so that I know when I got my results I would not have regrets knowing that I’ve tried my best,” she said.

Camps Bay High School recorded 98.5% from 99.2% in 2018.

Principal David de Korte said they were not expecting a 100% pass rate.

He said pupils had worked really hard and teachers shifted their focus on, “the weaker” pupils.

The school had 132 Grade 12 pupils who sat for the exams and only one failed.

Mr De Korte said: “Every single year has a group of matriculants whom we have expectations of because they have been under our supervision and we know how they have been doing in school. Some of our top students have performed between 10% to 15% lower than they usually would.”

The Western Cape came fourth in the country and achieved an increased percentage pass rate from 81.5% in 2018 to 82.3% in 2019.

Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer, said she was pleased with the performance of the Western Cape, especially given the difficulties that they are facing as a result of inadequate funding and safety concerns.

Ms Schäfer said the pass rates need to be seen in the context of the retention rate from Grade 10 to Grade 12. “If we consider Grade 10 enrolment in 2017 (both public and independent schools) to those that wrote (both public and independent schools) I am pleased that we have seen an improvement in retention of those entering Grade 10 in 2017 and those entering to write the NSC in 2019 from 62.9% in 2018 to 64.3.% in 2019,” she said.

She said another very important factor to analyse is the number and percentage of learners writing the Multiple Exam Opportunity (MEO). She said some provinces have up to 20% of their candidates taking the MEO examination, while the Western Cape has only 3%.

“This again is the lowest in the country, indicating that more learners are being given the opportunity to write and complete the full examination, while still retaining an over 80% pass rate. The important fact about this is that the results of those writing the MEO, who are usually weaker learners, are not included in the pass percentage. This can give an artificial view of the improvements. I am therefore pleased that the minister announced last year that this is the last year that the MEO will be permitted,” she said.