A Khayelitsha school, Joe Slovo Secondary School, has risen from the dust of being among the Western Cape’s worst performers to increasing its pass rate dramatically.
In the 2020 National Senior Certificate exam, the school achieved a 37% pass rate, which increased to 47% in 2021. The class of 2022 obtained 67%, but the 2023 matrics reached 87%.
The Western Cape Education Department celebrated the school on Tuesday, and many others that showed improvement and excellence, during their annual awards ceremony at Premier Alan Winde’s official residence, Leeuwenhof.
The Western Cape achieved an overall pass rate of 81.54% in 2023.
School principal Sityhilelo Ntamo beamed with pride as colleagues congratulated him.
“The school has really been doing well over the years. Almost all of the subjects the candidates passed well except maths, where we obtained 56%, and science, also the same percentage.
“When you are the head of a school and it performs poorly, all eyes will be on you. The parents and district head will need answers. The challenges we had were late-comings, absenteeism of pupils, and they were also not prepared to come to school to learn. Teachers were also not really dedicated, which could also be attributed to the learner behaviours,” said Ntamo.
Ntamo said he knew drastic changes were needed, and new interventions including morning, afternoon and weekend classes were introduced.
“We also had lesson plans to address the areas that need extra attention. The school was also strict on time management and found a way to ensure our teachers stayed motivated.
However, the challenge we have is funding – this is a Quintile 2 school, meaning the majority of the parents are unemployed and cannot afford to even assist with fund-raising.
“We could keep our pupils longer if we had the means to feed them. The school could come up with more programmes and aim for greater heights of 100% pass rate,” he said.
Joe Slovo Secondary School bagged four awards, including first position in the top 30 public schools in the province with candidates who have shown consistency with the greatest improvement in pass rate over the period 2021 to 2023.
It was also the most improved technical high school and had shown the greatest increase in candidates achieving access to Bachelor’s degree studies over the period 2021 to 2023.
It also clinched fifth position in public schools candidates that have shown the greatest increase in the pass rate in 2023 compared with 2022.
Uviwe Mqulwane from Joe Slovo Secondary School was among 16 candidates in the province who obtained full marks for a subject, receiving an award for technical maths.
Mqulwane attributed his success to his family and teachers at the school.