Cape school rises above its circumstances

2011-03-21 07:49

In 2003 Masibambane Senior Secondary school in Kraaifontein Cape Town had a 39% matric pass rate.

This year, however, it was named the the Western Cape’s top school in a disadvantaged area for its 95.6% pass rate.

Two of the school’s class of 2010 matrics were part of the Western Cape’s top 20 academic candidates.

One pupil, Asavela Rawe, was last year honoured by the provincial education department for obtaining seven distinctions and achieving among the highest average in the province – 97%.

Yet Masibambane falls in the education department’s quintile one – a category for the poorest communities. Over the past five years the school has achieved provincial and regional awards for academic excellence.

A concerted effort on the part of principal Rajan Naidoo and teachers saw the pass rate climb, obtaining an 84% pass rate by 2007.

The key to their success, said Naidoo, is discipline they instilled through dedication and commitment from the teachers and the pupils.

Naidoo said Grades 10 to 12 did not take holidays during the academic year, and the school opened early in January.

The teachers made themselves available for pupils to catch up on anything missed in the curriculum and do revision.

Creating a safe environment for learning was of primary importance in a area where crime was prevalent.

“Teaching in an impoverished school means teachers have to create the opportunity for pupils to study safely. Most of the pupils in our school live in shacks or RDP houses and those living conditions are not conducive to learning,” said Rajan.

With results proving that the school is succeeding in this, “the challenge we now face is to sustain this excellence and take these achievements to a higher level,” said Naidoo.

This needed to be done despite the school lacking a science laboratory and where most of the computers do not work properly.

Grade 11 learner Mawethu Mtshizana (16), said he felt lucky to be at the school as his fellow pupils were disciplined and the teachers were dedicated.

“The teachers support us and they are like parents to us because they help us when we need them,” said Mtshizana.

– West Cape News

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