Sishi more nervous than pupils during exam visit

2013-11-06 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL head of Education Dr Nkosinathi Sishi was more scared than the pupils who sat for their maths paper two yesterday, because he so wanted them to do well and didn’t know how pupils would find the paper.

Several pupils who wrote a maths paper last week told him that it wasn’t that bad, he said.

Visiting Lamontville High School and A.J. Mwelase Senior Secondary School pupils yesterday, Sishi was eager to find out how pupils fared.

“I’m looking forward to interviewing those who are still writing paper two, but I think I’m panicking more than the kids,” he said.

Sishi paced up and down the aisles in each class, quizzed the teachers and came out a satisfied man at the end of his visit.

There was complete silence in the exam rooms, as pupils skimmed through their question papers, many armed with their calculators on their desks.

Judging by the looks on the faces of the pupils, it was not an easy exam. Thembi Nkalishane wrote on Twitter: “The paper, truthfully, was fine. But, question 9 and 11 were extremely tricky”.

Sishi said he was happy with the exams so far. “Overall, the province of KwaZulu-Natal started very well, despite the rains,” he said.

He said matric examination is the best period in the schooling calendar and he would like to see that translated to the “normal” school day throughout the year.

He disputed that KZN maths and science pupils are ranked among the worst performing pupils in the country, according to the report investigating the department’s implementation of the maths, science and technology (MST) strategy in SA schools.

“We as KZN produce more maths graduates than any other province in the country, but because of the large exam system we’re running, we obviously have a bigger number of pupils that don’t succeed.”

But he acknowledged more work needs to be done.

KZN was ranked eighth in the 2012 National Senior Certificate in maths and science, beating only the Eastern Cape.

Commenting on violence in schools, Sishi described it as terrible.

“I’m disappointed. If you look at a school like Dannhauser: what kind of society have we become, where a school that is supposed to be a safe place for young people to learn is the venue and platform for the butchering of kids?”

He said they provide fences and security guards, but beyond that, society needs to play its role as well.

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