Meet the top matrics

2011-01-06 00:00

AS the matric results are released today, readers will meet some shining examples of dedication and achievement.

Among the top achievers in the province is the boy who scored eight distinctions while looking after his younger siblings following his mother’s death — and still managed to captain his school’s rugby team.

Then there’s the girl from the Eastern Cape who also had to mind her younger siblings as they studied in Pietermaritzburg where the opportunities are better. She also scored eight As.

Another is the boy from a family of five whose mother is a domestic worker, and who pulled off seven distinctions at a rural school.

Other pupils faced less adversity, but say focus and hard work helped them achieve multiple distinctions.

A Newcastle pupil achieved 10 As, while Pietermaritzburg has five pupils with nine As each. On the South Coast, Port Shepstone’s two high schools produced 10 achievers with eight straight As.

All these pupils, and many others with distinctions and university passes, overcame the challenges of a disrupted year with a longer than normal winter break and a protracted strike by teachers.

The achievers are among some 642 000 matriculants countrywide who have been eagerly awaiting their results today.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will brief the nation from the Union Buildings in Pretoria to give an overview of how the class of 2010 performed.

Matrics will be able to get their results from their schools from 8 am.

In the past, matriculants first received news of their achievements through the media with early releases of newspapers, but this practice was stopped in 2009, in part to minimise the danger of all-night parties and drinking.

The number of candidates who sat for the government-set examination last year is significantly up on the 2009 total. There were more girls than boys. The trend in matric achievement has been downward for the past six years. Last year 60,6% passed, down from 62,5% in 2008 and 65,3% in 2007.

Most of the matriculants of 2010 managed to complete 12 years of schooling. It is estimated that of the 1,5 million pupils who entered the system in 1998, only 300 000 will manage to pass matric.

Star Schools CEO Atul Patel says it is not doom and gloom for pupils who have failed matric. Star Schools help pupils raise their marks. In the last two years, he said, their pupils have scored almost 500 distinctions. They also provide support to teachers through incubator programmes.

The top achievers’ stories are on page 6

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