Excitement and relief as pupils rake in scores of As

2008-12-29 00:00

THIS year’s pass rate at schools that wrote matric under the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) is marginally less than last year’s, but IEB CEO Anne Oberholzer is proud of the achievement.

She said 8 001 candidates at 159 schools across the country wrote the 2008 National Senior Certificate and of those, 97,01% passed in comparison to last year’s 98%.

“It is definitely … a good set of results from good set of schools. The teachers worked hard for the past three years in preparing the learners for the first National Senior Certificate examination and the learners have really come to the party.”

She said that since the National Curriculum Statement did not have an aggregate this year, outstanding pupils have to be identified as those ranked within the top five percent in each of the six or more subjects written, as well as achieving 80% or more in life orientation.

“I think the aggregate system actually had its set of problems. The aggregate of maths can’t be the same as the aggregate in maths literacy, because it is not the same thing. So this year was actually harder because we had the cut-off mark of five percent of the top marks in each subject. And to qualify for this, you had to be within the five percent mark in every subject.”

Making the outstanding achievement list were Pietermaritzburg’s The Wykeham Collegiate, St John’s Diocesan School for Girls and Hilton College. Durban Girls’ College boasted two candidates in the outstanding achievement list, while St Mary’s DSG in Kloof and St Dominic’s Academy in Newcastle both had one representative.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Imke Meyer (17) of The Wykeham Collegiate, who was among the 40 candidates in the top five percent in six subjects, said she is completely overwhelmed by her achievements.

“You don’t know what to do with yourself. I honestly did not know how to handle it.”

Meyer got eight As and one B (in additional maths), which she said was done voluntarily under the old syllabus. “I did maths, maths paper 3 and the additional maths, which were both voluntary. I guess I’m a sucker for punishment,” she said.

Meyer considers herself a ground- breaker, which is why she plans to pursue machatronics, a new field which combines mechanics and electronics, at the University of Stellenbosch.

Also boasting eight As was Sinenhlanhla Allie (18) of St John’s Diocesan School for Girls.

“I’m extremely happy, blessed and shocked all at once. For me it is a big sigh of relief,” said the bubbly Allie.

She is going to Pretoria next year where she will study a B.Com in marketing since she is “business-minded, creative and outspoken”, all qualities she believes are useful in the media.

She said that surrounding herself with healthy friends and the support of her church and parents were key to her success.

For Laurie Smorthwaite (17) of St Anne’s, who secured seven As, getting a head start in her study time was her winning formula. “I studied hard for my preliminary exams and by the time the final exam came, everything was already in to the point that I didn’t have to work hard at all.”

She plans to make the next nine months her gap year with a working holiday in England, before studying for a combined social sciences degree in England.

Epworth’s Yuvania Chetty (18) of Mountain Rise said she surprised herself with eight As. “When I first heard, I started laughing, I thought my mother was messing with me because our principal called my mother before I received the sms. But then, when I received the sms to confirm it, I was happy.”

She said she felt the new curriculum was a bit chaotic for teachers, who had to adjust to a lot of changes.

She aims to study medicine, which, she said, was largely inspired by the TV drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

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