Principal takes failing school on the brink of closure to 100% matric pass rate
By Victor Kgomoeswana
Soweto - Lehlohonolo Molefe is the principal of Madibane High School in Diepkloof, Soweto. It was established in 1939 and is named after its first principal, Harry P Madibane.
Notable alumni include Professor Pothinius Mokgokong, Dr Aggrey Klaaste (editor: World and Sowetan), Stanley Motjuwadi (journalist), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Judge Elias Matojane, former minister of women and children Susan Shabangu and former MEC for safety in Gauteng, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
Mokgokong would later become vice-chancellor of the University of the North (now Limpopo), where Molefe studied in the 1980s.
When she was promoted to head in 2014, it was on the brink of closure because of low learner numbers.
The school had 195 learners and its matric pass rate was 66%, dropping to 63.4%. Under the leadership of Molefe - who holds a Master of Science degree - the pass rate improved to 94% the next year and reached 100% in 2016 - where it has stayed.
“The community started taking notice of the school, even gaining confidence in it. There were learners who were written off who believed they would amount to nothing, whose lives we turned around. Today they hold a matric certificate some with bachelor and diploma passes.
“Simply put, teaching chose me. Once I was inside, I decided to be counted as one of the best teachers.
“What needs to be done is serious restructuring of the curriculum to provide South Africa with the relevant material (human resources).
“Our government must invest in education. Teachers must also move with the times. I believe that they have it in them to adapt to the changing environment.”