Cape Town - Three Western Cape schools – in Bellville, Mitchells Plain and Stellenbosch – are among the top 10 in the country, says Jonathan Jansen.
The University of the Free State rector and vice-chancellor tweeted his list of top high schools last week.
“I am about to announce my annual list of the top 10 high schools in South Africa which combine academic excellence with human spirit,” said Jansen on his @JJ_UFS Twitter account.
Those in the Western Cape were DF Malan High School in Bellville, Mondale High in Mitchells Plain and Bloemhof High in Stellenbosch.
Jansen told the Cape Times he had chosen his top 10 schools based on the hundreds he had visited over the past few years.
He said the decision was “quite subjective” and based not only on a school’s academic performance, but also on its atmosphere.
“If you walk into a school there is a liveliness, a desire for learning. When I walk on to a stage, the children leap up from their seats. They are allowed to laugh.”
Jansen said there were many schools which were too rigid, almost “militaristic” and “fairly miserable”. He wanted to see children who looked happy, especially because there was so much imbalance in South Africa.
“You have to be able to laugh. Invest interest in sport and culture, be willing to experiment in stupid ideas. I am one for schools that don’t fit the mould of traditional rankings of test results.”
Jansen said St Mary’s School in Waverley, Johannesburg, was an example of this as it recognised the importance of laughter. Its website reads: “The essence of St Mary’s is tangible in the laughter of our girls and the vitality which permeates our campus.”
Jansen hoped to make his list an annual exercise.
DF Malan and Bloemhof High Schools were recognised earlier this year by Education MEC Donald Grant as two of the top 20 schools in the Western Cape.
This was based on consistent pupil numbers, an overall pass rate of at least 95 percent last year, the percentage of matriculants with access to bachelor’s degree studies and the percentage of pupils with maths passes.
Mondale High was recognised as one of 10 schools that had the greatest increases over three years, from 2010 to last year, in the number of matriculants achieving access to degree studies.
Jansen’s Top 10 schools
1. Mbilwi Secondary in Thohoyandou, Limpopo.
2. St Mary’s School in Waverley, Gauteng.
3. DF Malan High in Bellville.
4. Mondale High in Mitchells Plain.
5. Tsoseletso High in Bloemfontein, Free State.
6. Eunice High in Bloemfontein, Free State.
7. Bloemhof High in Stellenbosch.
8. Bethlehem Voortrekker High in Bethlehem, Free State.
9. Menzi High in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal.
10. St Stithians Girls’ College in Randburg, Gauteng.