Sinenjongo High School principal Khuselwa Nopote. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

In only two years a small school in Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton, has increased its matric pass rate by nearly 300 percent.

Classes at Sinenjongo High School take place in a number of containers placed around the edges of a dusty open space surrounded by the township.

The pass rate in 2008 was 27 percent, 44 percent in 2009 and 97 percent in 2010.

Principal Khuselwa Nopote, who had only been at the school since July, said she had convinced teachers and pupils extra classes were necessary in the morning before school and in the afternoon after school.

“I’ve encouraged them to come and study after hours. We have also had a lot of support from Rabie (the property group) and the Western Cape Education Department.”

Four years ago the school had few resources and an abysmal matric pass rate. It had been identified by the education department as one of the province’s 74 under-performing schools in need of special attention.

The Rabie property group then teamed up with Old Mutual to fund the construction and resourcing of a science laboratory. A year later Rabie joined forces with Chevron to provide a second computer laboratory.

After 2008’s disappointing 27 percent matric pass rate, the property firm stepped in and employed three mathematics and science teachers.

Of 44 candidates in 2010 only one failed.

Nopote credited the matric class for its discipline and also praised the teamwork and support from the teaching staff.

She said the pupils had been extremely nervous to go to the school on Thursday to get their results but once there, had been “so excited”.

Standing in the desolate open space, Nopote said the school desperately needed a proper brick building.

“When it’s hot, it is hot,” she said.

Sikelelwa Khamlana, who passed with access to a bachelor degree study, said she was “very, very happy” with her results.

“I’m very excited. I was nervous.”

Khamlana said she planned to study nursing at the University of the Western Cape.

Mathematics and science teacher Pam Robertson attributed the pupil’s success to teamwork.

The pupils had been told that it was possible to achieve good results if they put in extra work.

Robertson also credited Nopote with her “top leadership”.

- Cape Times