Better security, strict goals boost matric pass rate at Cape Town school

2017-01-06 07:16
New Eisleben High School in Crossroads has increased its pass rate. (Jenni Evans, News24)

New Eisleben High School in Crossroads has increased its pass rate. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - The secret to raising the matric pass rate from 47% to 68% at New Eisleben High School in Crossroads was to strengthen security measures and set strict goals, its head Lindile Kamana said on Thursday.

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The class of 2015 managed a disappointing 47% pass rate and Kamana managed to push this up by 21 percentage points.

Of the 216 matric 2016 pupils, 147 passed the National Senior Certificate exams.

Previously the school was the scene of several violent incidents. Three years ago, pupil Anele Mlawuli was stabbed to death on school grounds.

In 2016, pupils and teachers held various protests, mostly to highlight their criticism of previous principal Pat Matsimela's management style.

Pass rate goals

Matsimela left last year, and when Kamana stepped in as “caretaker principal” to smooth things over, his first priority was increased security to ensure pupils could breathe easily and focus on school work.

A large sign banning firearms, knives, drugs and dangerous weapons at the school's entrance enforces this basic principle. He said the police have been extremely supportive, arriving within minutes if they are needed.

Kamana set a goal of an 80% overall pass rate for the 2016 exams, knowing it might be out of reach for some.

He asked teachers to set their own pass rate goals for their individual subjects, as long as it was not below 60%.

Then he made sure all pupils who wanted to, could go for extra tutoring arranged by the provincial education department, and that progressed pupils attended extra classes arranged for them at Sinethemba High School.

A disciplinary committee was established to deal with internal school problems through hearings and written warnings.

And to Kamana's delight, marks went up.

“There were no disruptions during exams, and pupils were asking me to keep the school open after hours so that they could use the lab or the library and study even more.”

Two pupils achieved distinctions - previously a rarity for the school.

Dingane Maphelo got As for maths, science, life sciences, and geography. Ncameva Zihle got As for maths, physics, and life sciences.

Sixty-five of those who passed got university entrance passes, 39 could study towards a diploma qualification, and 43 for a certificate course.

For those who did not make it, a teacher they were close to broke the news to them gently. They would get help with preparation for rewrites, if they wanted to go that route.

Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer praised the pupils and teachers for their hard work, and the police for being quick to respond as the school flushes out gangsterism.

She said the increased pass rate was phenomenal. She attended the assembly where Kamana said a few words of encouragement before the matric certificates were handed out.

“They all put in a lot of effort and it paid off,” Schafer said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  matric 2016

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