Speech by Minister Donald Grant at the NSC awards for outstanding achievement by learners and schools in 2012 at Leeuwenhof.
Premier Helen Zille
My wife Cheryl
Members of the Western Cape Education Standing Committee
All dignitaries welcomed by the Super-Intendant General
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured and proud to stand before you today as Minister for Education in the Western Cape.
The Class of 2012 has excelled beyond expectations, putting on a ‘quality performance’ that I will certainly remember for years to come.
The Class of 2012 has also succeeded in beating the records for all our key indicators of success.
These records include:
- Achieving the highest number of passes in this province since the inception of the NSC,
- Breaking our record in the number of learners qualifying for Bachelor Degree study; and,
- Achieving the highest percentage pass rates in both Mathematics and Physical Science.
Results, such as this, show that the system is qualitatively getting better and that our strategic interventions are proving, time and time again, to be successful in increasing the performance levels of our underperforming schools.
Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, as a result of the many outstanding achievements of the Class of 2012, the number of underperforming schools has dropped once again.
While this Government has always prioritised the education needs of all our learners, we have particularly focused on our schools serving our poorer communities.
If we analyse the results, it is evident that the quality of education in our schools serving our poorer communities in Quintiles 1-3 is improving under this Government.
Since 2009 we have improved on all indicators of success for schools in Quintile 1-3:
- There has been a 25.6% increase in the number of candidates passing the NSC in Quintiles 1-3 since 2009, with 9 797 candidates passing in 2012, compared to 7798 in 2009. The average pass rate also increased from 56.9% in 2009 to 70.9% in 2012.
- The number of Bachelors Passes has increased across Quintiles 1-3 from 1432 in 2009 to 2531 in 2012. This is an increase of approximately 76% between 2009 and 2012.
- The average percentage pass rate for Mathematics in Quintile 1-3 has increased by 12.2% and the average pass rate for Physical Science by 26.64%.
- The number of underperforming schools in Quintiles 1 to 3 has been reduced from 50 in 2009 to 18 in 2012.
These results are a clear indication that we are working hard to improve the education outcomes of our poorer learners. We will continue to prioritise their needs in 2013 to ensure that further quality improvements are made.
Examination results are, however, not about numbers in isolation – they are about better life chances for our young people and a government which is prepared to support the improvement of these chances.
It is our aim to achieve the highest quality of education possible in all our schools throughout this province.
We know this will be achieved only over time. We will continue to expect our academically successful schools to achieve good results, at the same time, assisting our other schools to improve.
It is not about lowering standards to achieve the same level of education, but to improve outcomes to meet them.
EVERY school should aspire towards achieving and improving on quality.
We are already seeing some of our individual schools taking the lead in this initiative.
Schools like COSAT in Khayelitsha, Rylands High School in Gatesville, Spine Road in Mitchells Plain and Imizamo Yethu Secondary in Thembalethu near George, are but a few that come to mind.
One such school will be receiving a Special Ministerial Award today for its outstanding performance in Mathematics, a subject that I have personally have taken an interest in improving. This school is the only school in the province to have achieved a 100% pass rate with an enrolment rate of 100% of their Class of 2012 in Mathematics. This is simply outstanding.
We are also pleased to see other schools working their way up the ladder of quality – schools like Sinenjonga High School in Milnerton, Groenvlei Senior Secondary in Hanover Park and Sinethemba Secondary School in Phillipi.
In 2012, we saw 20 of our 30 underperforming schools improve their results to beyond 60%. This is evidence that school improvement can be achieved no matter where one is positioned in the NSC.
I would therefore like to wish all the schools that will be honoured here today, whether you have achieved excellence in individual performance, improved your number of passes or increased numbers passing for Bachelor Degree study. Each of you is aspiring towards achieving or improving on quality, and for that you deserve to be congratulated and honoured.
I would also like to congratulate each of the individual learners that will receive an award today.
You are really the high flyers of a class that has performed well!
I should like to thank you for the hard work that you have put into your studies throughout your school years. This hard work has now paid off, and I sincerely hope that you realise just how proud this Government, this Department and the people of the Western Cape Province are of your quality achievements.
To the proud parents and guardians of these candidates before me, and to the countless other parents from our Grade 12 class of 2012, thank you for supporting your children throughout their school careers.
I would like to congratulate all of our principals who have met and improved on their targets for 2012, as well as our educators who had successfully prepared their candidates. I am aware of how much extra time many of our educators dedicated to take extra classes during weekends and during the holidays. I thank you for this.
Thanks must also go to the educator unions, governing body associations, universities and various education organisations for the role that they have played in supporting the efforts of the WCED in 2012.
I include in this group the Western Cape Education Council, whose Chairman, Professor Brian Figaji, is present here today.
A big thank you to all our eight District Directors and their staff for their dedication and support to our schools throughout 2012. Your contribution to this year’s quality performance has not gone unnoticed. Your sustained support and interventions at our schools are a major contributing factor in the Class of 2012’s success.
I would also like to thank the WCED’s examinations team for their excellent approach in overseeing these exams. Many of you are unaware, during the November farm strikes, of just how creative this team was.
Together with our District Directors and officials, they ensured in very tough circumstances to get all candidates to an examination centre with their relevant scripts be it 50 km away! On behalf of this Government and those candidates – Thank you.
As described above, there is no doubt that 2012 was a year of teamwork and shared motivation.
These driving forces took different forms. Some schools and learners have banded together to form study groups.
Supported by their educators, these study groups took place throughout the year, with learners meeting during school holidays and on weekends in order to improve their results.
Their teamwork and shared motivation paid off – the Class of 2012 has done us proud!
I sincerely hope that the Class of 2013 is just as committed and as unified as you.
By working “Better Together” we can certainly improve on your success.