Soweto school which fought Afrikaans, now fights drug scourge

2016-01-06 16:40
Commemorating Youth Day. (File, Sam Nzima)

Commemorating Youth Day. (File, Sam Nzima)

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Johannesburg - Morris Isaacson High School in Jabavu, Soweto, is the school where the youth of 1976 began their march against being taught in Afrikaans.

- Get your matric results here

Today, it is where drug users go when all other schools have rejected them.

Principal Steven Khanyile is working hard to change that image, but says the school's drop in matric results is not helping matters. He has been the principal since October 2013.

"These results are not very good. We had a lot of learners this year, about 361 learners that we had enrolled," he said on Wednesday.

The school’s pass rate fell from 71% in 2014 to 62% in 2015.

Most of the pupils that did poorly gave staff problems throughout the year. They failed to attend class, did not do their work, and used drugs, he said.

"We had a lot of learners that were really out of hand in terms of discipline, so we had a lot of disciplinary issues that we had to focus on throughout this year."

Staff members, the school's alumni, parents and local residents were called in to help find a solution to the drug problem.

 Some pupils sold drugs to their classmates on the school grounds.

Thabo Matotsi failed Grade 10 due to various personal problems. On Wednesday, his determination to overcome them resulted in the good news that he had passed his final exams with one distinction, in life orientation.

Matotsi said the school had some rogue elements, but they were few and far between. Most of his Grade 10 classmates that were involved in drugs had dropped out, he said.

"When I failed the first time [in Grade 10] it was because of peer pressure. I nearly fell deep into drugs, but I managed to control myself and managed to be standing here today."

He said Khanyile and the school’s teachers were trying hard to fight the drug problem and he had noticed a difference.

The new generation of pupils needed to improve on the performance of their predecessors and remember the school’s legacy.

"The staff must keep on motivating the new students and tell them about the history of the school and tell them the achievements of other learners, and the learners can also look back at the history and see where they can fit themselves in," he said.


Read more on:    matrics 2015

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