This week,MEC for Education in Mpumalanga, Bonakele Majuba, encouraged Izimbali Boarding School learners to take advantage of their opportunities.
Majuba was speaking at the school's 21 Acts of Goodness programme, which is hosted in collaboration with the Old Mutual Foundation, which focuses on providing selfless service to others.
"Our collaboration of purpose, with our partners, led by the Old Mutual Foundation, helps to pioneer an agenda to enforce a social and a developmental contract with our learners as they prepare for life outside our schooling system," he said.
"We, therefore, urge our learners to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with everyone here to free their potential," Majuba added.
He said education is pivotal to economic prosperity and enables individual South Africans to realise their dreams of a better life.
"We are also highly convinced that education is the only equaliser that enables people to break the cycle of poverty and ignorance that characterises some poor communities. Education is a great agent of change that can transform a village into a city of time, shaping and changing the lives of the inhabitants for the better," the MEC said.
Majuba explained that the boarding school set up was conceptualised to guarantee the delivery of quality education to learners.
"These boarding schools were established to ensure that learners are able to reach Grade 12, get good grades, attend university and return home to empower their families. It is for this reason that we always lament on learner performance which are below expectations from these schools. We expect learners in these boarding to perform above the rest and to succeed at all cost," he stated.
Majuba expressed his gratitude to the Old Mutual Foundation, which focused on the programme and in all the province's boarding schools.
"We are, thus, here in Amsterdam, a rural town, to ensure you that everything is possible through education. We are here because we love you, and we hope that our presence today will inspire you to your greatness," he added.
In 2019, Izimbali recorded a pass rate of 97.3%, decreasing to 92.6% in 2020 and a further decline of 82.1% in 2021.
"Our wish is that, going forward, all learners in these boarding schools must make the grade, meaning that we expect nothing less than 100%. So as much as we seek to improve the pass percentage for the whole school, let us also heed the call to pass with colourful grades and distinctions as it is possible, and it is all within our reach," Majuba said.
He added that along with its partners, his department wants to ensure that all learners reach their goals.
"My dear learners, I want to encourage you to study very hard and bring your challenges to class for your teachers to assist. Be always disciplined and focused on your school work. Refrain from negative tendencies such as drugs, alcohol and other activities that will divert your attention from your studies.
"I also want to remind you that the only thing best for you is to work hard for your few years at school or tertiary institution and reap the rewards for the rest of your lives rather than idling and loafing around for the few years and suffer for the rest of your lives. I implore you to please take advantage of television programmes such as learning channels as well as Departmental programmes that are designed to assist you with your learning," he said.