'Get real': Western Cape is top of matric pile‚ says Zille

11 January 2018 - 12:25 By Dave Chambers
Janke van Dyk from Bellville High School was the country’s top 2017 matriculant.
Janke van Dyk from Bellville High School was the country’s top 2017 matriculant.
Image: Alaister Russel

The Western Cape might have come only third in provincial matric pass rates‚ on 82.8%‚ but as far as Premier Helen Zille is concerned it’s way in the lead.

Congratulating the province’s top matric achievers on Thursday at Leeuwenhof‚ her official residence in Cape Town‚ Zille said the Western Cape retained 64.3% of pupils in the schooling system between Grade 10 and the 2017 matric exams.

“This is 12.8 percentage points higher than the next province‚ Gauteng‚ and 22 percentage points higher than the Free State‚ which had the lowest retention rate in the country‚” she said. Free State had the best matric pass rate‚ with Gauteng second.

Said Zille: “We have always placed a big emphasis on indicators showing quality education – beyond the matric pass rate league table.

“The Western Cape again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country (39.1%)‚ the highest maths pass rate (73.9%) and a physical science pass rate consistent with previous years (74%).”

Zille congratulated the Western Cape pupils who took the top two spots countrywide — Janke van Dyk from Bellville High and Matthys Carstens from Durbanville High.

She paid special tribute to Brenda Nyarudzu‚ from Ilingelethu Secondary School in the West Coast District.

“Her mother passed away when Brenda was in Grade 11‚ and her father struggled financially to provide a conducive space for Brenda to study for exams‚” said Zille.

“With the help of our district and circuit offices‚ Brenda achieved a slew of distinctions‚ finishing first overall in her school. This is just one example of a broader effort to keep learners in school‚ helping them to succeed rather than drop out.”

Zille‚ a former education MEC‚ said one of her top priorities was quality schooling. “Education is the foundation on which South Africa will exceed‚ and that is what we work on every single day‚” she said.

“It takes good leadership‚ good middle management‚ involved parents‚ and structures and systems of discipline that enable learning. How to instil this‚ in all schools that lack it‚ is a formula we have not yet cracked.

“I have 18 months left in the premiership‚ and if there’s one thing I do‚ it will be to continue working on cracking that conundrum.”