No toilet, no pass

2014-01-12 14:01

All six matrics at Eastern Cape school fail

Reshwa Secondary has no toilets, its roof leaks and the paint is peeling from its walls.

None of its six matric candidates passed.

The school in the King William’s Town district of Eastern Cape is made from mud and was built by residents in 1986.

But it wasn’t always this bad – in 2012 it had an 84.6% pass rate. School governing body chairperson Kuthele Khunjuzwa, who lives opposite the school, blamed the teachers for the failure rate.

“These teachers are so lazy that most of them did not finish the syllabus. I have a daughter in Grade 8 in the school and they did not finish the syllabus in a number of subjects.

“These teachers do as they please. They know we can’t challenge them because we are inferior academically,” he said.

“These teachers are killing the future of our children. Government must look at the people they employ because some of them are just useless.”

Nine schools in the country recorded a 0% pass rates, two of which are in Eastern Cape.

None of the four matrics at Impey Siwisa High School in Alice passed either. Here, principal Mbulelo Dyushu blames the pupils.

“I am very disappointed by the results because they reflect badly on us as teachers, as if we are not doing our job. We have done a lot for these kids to pass.

“They were just not interested at all. By June, we had already realised these learners were doomed to fail. Their attitude was not right,” Dyushu said.

The school’s pass rate has been plummeting since 2010, when they scored a 68% pass. By 2012, it was down to 25%.

Dyushu said staff and pupils were demoralised.

School governing body chairperson Thembekile Soci called on government to intervene.

“It is unacceptable that the school fails so dismally. We are now the laughing stock of the whole country, which cannot be. Something needs to be done,” he said. He plans to call a parents’ meeting to find a solution.

Soci said the pupils were partly to blame because they were lazy and didn’t listen to teachers’ advice. “It’s a very sorry state of affairs when children bunk school all the time.

“When they are given tasks, these learners decide among themselves that they are not going to school,” said Soci.

Education MEC Mandla Makupula – whose department misspelt both schools’ names in a release this week announcing the results – said Reshwa and Impey Siwisa did not have the right teachers because they were small schools.

“Both illustrate the need for policy interventions such as rationalisation and mergers,” he said. “It’s disappointing and a setback for us. But at the same time, it’s a lesson.”

‘‘It is unacceptable that the school fails so dismally. We are now the laughing stock of the whole country

If it didn’t happen for you, don’t worry

Matric exams are done and dusted. So what’s the next step for those who have just matriculated? Here’s how to deal with what comes next?–?whether you were happy with your marks or not

1 How do I apply for a recheck or a remark?

You can do this immediately through the school or centre where you wrote your exams. The closing date for rechecking and remarking is January 21.

It will cost R16 per subject for a recheck and R79 per subject for a remark. A recheck allows you to look over a script yourself and see whether you believe it needs to be marked again.

If you attended a no-fee school or were granted a concession on paying fees, you don’t have to pay for a recheck or a remark.

2 How do I register for supplementary examinations?

You are eligible to write supplementary exams if:

»?You haven’t met the requirements to get your matric certificate but need passes in a maximum of two subjects to get an overall pass. The two subjects in question must be subjects you did during your final exams;

»?You could not sit or finish the exams for medical reasons because of a death in your immediate family or what the basic education department calls “other special reasons” (you must supply evidence); or

»?You don’t satisfy the minimum requirements for admission to a tertiary institution but are just one subject pass short of doing so.

If you qualify, you can register at the same place where you did your exams. The closing date for applications is January?24.

The timetable, study guides and past exam papers are available on and all provinces will be offering support programmes.

3 What if I don’t qualify to write the supplementary exams?

If you’re under 21, you can re-enrol at school. This means you can redo matric. There are other options available like registering at a private institution or enrolling at an adult education centre. These centres are free of charge.

You could also consider a vocational option – there are 50 further education and training (FET) colleges across South Africa offering a wide range of courses.

4 Okay, how do I decide which FET college is right for me?

The SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa) and the higher education department keep a list of registered and accredited institutions of higher learning, including FET colleges with accredited courses and certificates offered.

Students and parents are advised to check these institutions against this list.

Students can call 0800?872?222 (toll free) or visit, or the higher education department’s website:

»?There are more than 50 state (public) FET colleges and more than 400 privately run FET colleges in South Africa.

The list of these colleges is updated regularly.

5 I want to apply to a university or FET college. How do I decide which is right for me? How do I apply?

The department of higher education and training has set up the Central Application Clearing House (Cach), which is for students who have not yet applied to higher education in stitutions.

Agents at this call centre will advise you on which institutions have space available. They will also help you if you were not accepted at the institution of your choice.

Students can contact the Cach call centre on 0860?356?0635 or send an SMS with their name and ID number to 49200.

After sending the SMS, you’ll get a call back from an agent. You can also apply online via the Cach website:

6 I’ve heard about fly-by-night colleges?–?how do I make sure I’m applying to a genuine institution?

Saqa and the department of higher education and training keep an updated list of registered and accredited institutions of higher learning. You can call 0800?872?222 or visit or the higher education department’s website:

–?Siyabonga Sithole

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