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Pupils from KZN’s special schools shine

Thembisa Xolo one of KwaZulu-Natal’s special school achievers from the Open Air School in Glenwood. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA).

Thembisa Xolo one of KwaZulu-Natal’s special school achievers from the Open Air School in Glenwood. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA).

Published Jan 21, 2022


Durban - Adapting studying to the new normal of Covid-19 meant students of Open Air special education school in Glenwood, Durban, had to work extra hard to succeed.

But the school produced the three top students from special schools who were invited along with other KZN’s top achievers to a celebratory function at the Anton Lembede Mathematics and Science Academy in La Mercy on Friday, as KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala released the results for the class of 2021.

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Among them was Thembisa Xolo, who is partially visually impaired .

“During the academic year, we had to go home because they had a covid case in school. Studying online was even harder because I was not able to see what was written on the computer screen, I had to get assistance from my sister and friends whenever I wanted to read notes or print documents,” said Xolo.

She said she was planning on studying Journalism at the Durban University of Technology this year, but couldn’t because she has eyesight problems. Instead she will study marketing at a special school in Western Cape.

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Xolo is scheduled for eye surgery in February this year, which she hopes will be a success.

Phiwokuhle Ndlovu is one of the top achievers from Open Air School. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad, African News Agency (ANA)

Second was Phiwokuhle Ndlovu, who said she had to go study at different schools and take extra classes for online courses and also watch YouTube videos.

“ Going to school during covid was different because we could not attend normal classes like before and we had challenges adapting to studying online,” said Ndlovu.

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She said she is going to study law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Samkelisiwe Nyembezi one of the special schools top achievers from Open Air School. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA).

Third was Samkelisiwe Nyembezi who said she had to move from her home in Mayville and go live at a school’s hostel because she did not have enough time to study.

“ I had to study an extra three hours everyday from 6pm to 9pm.

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“ I made sure I studied every night for each and every subject,” said Ndlovu.

Nyembezi is planning to study Psychology or something related to business because her favourite subject was business studies.

Zikalala said the province honours learners with special needs and the challenges they face.

“We recognise the extraordinary effort that they put to succeed, refusing to allow learning disabilities to stand between them and their goals and dreams. You inspire us and remind us of the tenacity of the human spirit,” said Zikalala.

He said the province was working hard to improve special schools and wanted to ensure that none of the special schools obtained a pass rate of less than 70%.

He added that six special schools obtained a 100% pass rate.

He said the province is pleased about this excellent performance because it will open the doors of further learning to learners in special schools.

Independent on Saturday