A tough year, but a good one

2007-12-01 00:00

KwaZulu-Natal schools closed for the year yesterday, with teachers and pupils saying it has been a tough year, disrupted by the mid-year public servants’ strike. Despite this, they said, the year has been productive.

Education MEC Ina Cronjé and the head of department, Dr Cassius Lubisi, agreed that the year has been challenging in different aspects, and thanked everyone for helping to make it a success, nonetheless.

“We wish all parents, educators, officials, learners and our stakeholders a happy and peaceful holiday season,” Cronjé said.

Khulekani Maphumulo (18), a matriculant at Alexander High School in Pietermaritzburg, said he is relieved the year is finally over.

“The strike was definitely the hardest thing for me this year and it was done right in the middle of our trials, which we had to postpone for later … it took me out of study mode,” he said.

However, this did not stop Maphumulo from excelling. Yesterday, he was awarded with his Protea blazer at the school’s last assembly, for coming second in the junior division of the world marabaraba championship held in Port Elizabeth earlier in the year.

Siyabonga Duma (18), who is also in matric, said he found the pressure from his parents difficult.

“I seriously think the whole matric thing is overdone. Grade 11 is hard. And you know how the parents would say your sister, when she was in matric, used to do this, she always studied … and I found it an unnecessary pressure,” Duma said.

“The chances of failing are zero. But you know how it is, some people are looking for an A or two,” he said.

Many grade 11s agreed that this year was the hardest at school, adding that the holiday is well deserved.

“It was hard, I won’t lie to you. But I have always worked hard to maintain distinctions through the years and I’m not willing to compromise that in my matric year,” Fika Nqetho (17) said.

His twin brother, Afika Nqetho, who came first in the grade, said he is going into his matric year wanting to be remembered as a legend.

“I tried to get involved in as many activities around the school as I could. So I hope that will contribute in shaping those who come after me to excel culturally, in sports and all spheres of their academic lives. That is my goal,” he said.

Kaylan Maroney and Nadine Davids, best friends from Eastwood High, said they got through their grade 11 year with positive energy from each other.

“We always do things together. Why must there be only negative peer pressure? We go to church together and check up on each other to make sure our grades are always good.”

Both girls were among 16 pupils in the school who received awards from their teachers for hard work through out the year.

Grade eight pupils at Raisethorpe Secondary said their first year of high school was very exciting and rewarding.

“At first I was very scared. I went from being the biggest in grade seven to being the smallest out of the entire school. But Sir [the principal] is our father [and] most students and teachers were very nice and welcoming,” Kimberley Persad said.

“For me, it was strange to be in school with boys because I have been in an all girls school since grade one and I knew only one person in the entire school and it was scary. But I have made good friends and am excited about grade nine because we’ll get to choose our subjects at the end of the year,” said Sherece Chetty of Allandale.

The principal of Edendale High School, Thobias Ngubane, said his school maintained a 96% pass rate as in previous years.

“The children are over the moon about their results and it has been a good year. Obviously, there is no such thing as a smooth freeway in life, there were hiccups here and there, but overall we are very happy,” Ngubane said.

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