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KZN class of 2021 the 'most resilient' after facing July unrest and Covid-19 disruptions

21 January 2022 - 11:55
One of the top pupils of the class of 2021 honoured at an event in Durban on Friday. The class of 2021 has been applauded for its resilience as pupils faced Covid-19 and the July unrest disruptions.
One of the top pupils of the class of 2021 honoured at an event in Durban on Friday. The class of 2021 has been applauded for its resilience as pupils faced Covid-19 and the July unrest disruptions.
Image: supplied

The class of 2021 in KwaZulu-Natal has proven to be the “most resilient” in recent history, education MEC Kwazi Mshengu said on Friday.

Speaking at an event in Durban to announce the matric results in the province, Mshengu said the class of 2021 had to contend with two full years of Covid-19 disruption. 

“Unlike the 2020 grade 12 learners, this cohort is the one that lost a lot of time for several months in grade 11 and missed out on an opportunity to cover certain learning areas that would have better prepared them for grade 12,” he said.

The class of 2021 also had to contend with the July unrest, which swept through the province, resulting in widespread violence, looting and chaos. Mshengu said the unrest forced the department of education to cancel its annual winter classes.

“Today we stand proud that notwithstanding all these and related difficulties, the performance of the class of 2021 is an outstanding 76.8%, which is a marginal 0.8% decrease from the performance of the class of 2020,” he said.

At the beginning of last year, the provincial department set 10 areas it wanted to improve on. Mshengu reported on Friday that the department improved on eight of them.

“We wanted to increase the number of learners passing matric in 2021. Indeed we increased from 104,938 in 2020 to 127,990 in 2021. We wanted to increase the number of schools passing at 100%. We increased from 140 in 2020 to 145 in 2021.

“We have also seen an increase in the schools from quintile 1-3 that perform between 91% — 100%. We wanted to increase the number of bachelor passes. We increased from 51,074 in 2020 to 61,856 in 2021. We are number 1 in the country.”

Mshengu said the number of diploma passes increased from 35,214 in 2020 to 42,128 in 2021.

“We wanted to increase distinctions. Indeed we improved from 49,999 in 2020 to 61,887. Again leading in the country. We wanted to eliminate the 0% schools. There is no school in KwaZulu-Natal that got 0% from the six we had in 2020.

“We wanted to improve performance in maths and science. Indeed the mathematics improved from 51.2% in 2020 to 54.2% in 2021. Physical science improved from 69.7% in 2020 to 71.2% in 2021.

“We wanted to ensure that all home languages perform above 90%. IsiZulu is 99.6%; isiXhosa 99.7; SiSwati 99.2%; Sesotho 96.6%; Afrikaans 97.9% and English 90.8%.”

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala reiterated that the class of 2021 was “distinctive and remarkable because it proved to be the tough battalion that went through the pain, trauma, and destruction of the July 2021 inferno and unrest.

“It was a sad and tragic moment in the history of our country and province where no less than 144 learning centres were damaged at a time where the educational budget had been slashed by R6.3bn.

“The vandalising and targeting of schools to steal food and equipment had been on the rise with the advent of Covid-19 in 2020 and so the July 2021 civil unrest only worsened the situation and enabled criminals to loot the future of our children.

“Because of the unrest, all plans for the KwaZulu-Natal winter holiday intervention programme had to be cancelled. It is in this regard that we truly honour the class of 2021 because we cannot think of a group that went through such disturbances and dislocation in post-apartheid SA,” he said.

Zikalala paid tribute to “the heroes and heroines behind our great performance for 2021.

“To all our teachers who never spare themselves under extremely trying circumstances, we salute you for your commitment to the success and future of our children. We cannot thank all teacher unions enough for working with us as dependable partners.”

Zikalala also congratulated “parents and guardians who under gruelling and taxing circumstances did not give up in providing support to their children.

“A number of these parents were facing rising cost of living, loss of income and going through the stress brought by the pandemic and various social ills.”



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