Viva dedicated teachers: The Herald

In the last four years our results have increased by 13.3%. It is clear that our teachers are not adverse to hard work

THE 16 schools in the northern neighbourhoods of Port Elizabeth have achieved an exceptionally good average matric pass rate of 81.6%.

This was obtained despite the illegal closures of the majority of these secondary schools as a result of dissatisfaction displayed by parents, because of the non-filling of much-needed vacant posts.

The Department of Education had also failed to fill all substantive vacant posts by the end of July last year, citing the lack of teachers to teach subjects in Afrikaans.

Some schools, despite the shortage of teachers, had also lost teachers who had been reassigned to other schools as per the needs determination by the department.

A large number of these teachers were involved in the teaching of subjects to Grade 12 pupils.

Despite all these impediments and stumbling blocks, teachers and pupils in the northern suburbs have persevered to such an extent that they have set the benchmark for others to follow.

These pupils and teachers have also shown that if there is a will, the impossible can be achieved.

It must also be remembered that you need to be hungry for success to obtain the unattainable.

These teachers have shown that with such a hunger, imagination and dogged determination, they have secured the future of the majority of the pupils that wrote the 2014 National Senior Certificate final examination.

The teachers, pupils and, in some instances, the parents, should be commended for never having thrown in the towel, even under the most difficult circumstances.

Our teachers have shown that success can be achieved, even with the least available resources.

I want to applaud our teachers and pupils in the northern neighbourhoods and to congratulate them for unselfishly putting the shoulder to the wheel in order for our pupils to realise their dreams. I salute you. The 16 high schools, in alphabetical order, are Arcadia (80.2%), Bertram (67.4%), Bethelsdorp (77.8%), Booysen Park (79.7%), Chapman (96.2%), Chatty (55.6%), David Livingstone (60.5%), Gelvandale (72.7%), Hillside (78.6%), Nasruddin Islamic (100%), Paterson (80,6%), Sanctor (87.1%), St James (81.9%), St Thomas (88.7%), Westville (90.2%), and Woolhope (83.1%).

In 2014, the highest total ever, 1 733, sat for the NSC. Of these, 1 415 passed, a figure which also represents the highest number ever of Grade 12 pupils progressing beyond Grade 12 at the same sitting.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the average pass percentage of the schools was 68.3%, 70.6% and 76.05%.

In the last four years, our successes have risen by 13.3%.

These results are the evidence of the seriousness of the task at hand. It is clear that our teachers in the northern neighbourhoods, despite the challenges, are not adverse to hard work.

Please, all those involved in the education of our children, I appeal to you to keep the flame burning.

These results of the northern neighbourhood schools are also significant in that the retention rate has improved beyond expectation in that in 2011, only 978 pupils sat the Grade 12 exams, compared to the 1 733 who wrote in 2014.

Over the last four years, we had an increase of pupils who were allowed to move through to Grade 12, a situation which, to me, negates the phenomenon of culling, i e retaining the weak pupils in Grade 11 in order to improve the matric results.

The average percentage of 81.6% obtained in the northern neighbourhoods is much higher than the average obtained by the PE district (74.3%), provincial (65.4), and national (75.8). It is only the district of Cradock, with a pass rate of 82.3% that is higher than our areas.

The northern neighbourhoods district is much bigger than the district of Cradock in terms of the number of Grade 12s who wrote the exams. In Cradock, 690 pupils sat and 568 passed.

I want to congratulate Cradock as well for the sterling work they are doing.

In conclusion, teachers in the northern suburbs, I want you to be humble with your achievements, but don’t let the baton fall.

This, dear colleagues and friends, is a good story to tell.

Viva northern areas teachers, viva. You will most certainly leave a legacy behind.

Edmund van Vuuren, DA Shadow MEC for Education