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​The rise in the matric pass rate was “evidence of intervention programmes introduced by the education department”, says the director-general.
AFTER a nerve-wracking wait for their matric results, some learners from Parktown Boys’ High School were over the moon when they got the news that their school was among the best in Joburg.

Riyaadh Mohammed got distinctionsRiyaadh Mohammed managed to get eight distinctionsAccompanied by their parents, the learners eagerly awaited their results outside the school premises in the wee hours of the morning of Thursday, 5 January.

It was a scene of mixed emotions: most of them did not manage to get up early enough to buy newspapers before they were sold out, so the statements of results at the school were the only way for them to find out how they had performed.

Some were shaking with apprehension, while the clever kids were as sure as ever that they had made it.

One such genius was 18-year-old Riyaadh Mohamed, who managed eight distinctions out of nine subjects. They included English first language, maths and maths paper 3, life orientation, accounting, advanced programme maths, life science and physical science.

Asked about his secret, he said: “I worked hard from the beginning of the year so I did not have any pressure towards the exams. I used a lot of previous questions papers for reference, so I knew exactly what to expect. My family also supported me a lot.”

Mohamed, an aspiring doctor, is not only smart, but also has a passion for community service. “I want to study medicine. Because of the passion I have for helping my community, every weekend I do community service work at the Helen Joseph Hospital.”

He is aiming to study medicine at the universities of Witwatersrand or Cape Town.

Hardwork seemed to be a tradition to the school, and 18-year-old Mohamed Kolia was also among the top students. He received six distinctions in English first language, maths, physical science, life science, accounting and life orientation.

His recipe for success was simple – early preparation. “I started doing revision of all subjects four months before the examinations. The preliminary examinations also helped in preparations because I knew what to focus on.”

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga congratulates one of the top performing matirculants for 2011Basic education minister Angie Motshekga congratulates one of the top performing matirculants for 2011 (Photo: Department of Basic Education)Kolia is also planning to study medicine at Wits.

Also on the list of hardworkers was 18-year-old Ross Pearse, who achieved distinctions in maths paper 3 and maths, life orientation, information technology, life science and physical science. He thanked the teachers for attending to the learners at all times.

“We have had a great year. The teachers have really been helpful; they were always there for us when we needed assistance.”

Pearse said he was planning to study bio-medical engineering at Wits.

Pass rate
The results at Parktown Boys’ are pretty much a reflection of a successful year of education, with a total pass rate in South Africa as a whole of 70,2 percent.

Tabling the national matric results in Pretoria yesterday, the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, announced an increase of 2,4 percent on the 2010 pass rate of 67,8 percent.

In 2011, 496 090 candidates sat for the exams, compared to 537 543 in 2010. Part-time students who wrote their exams numbered 80 116.

“We congratulate the Class of 2011 for a job well done, particularly those who performed exceptionally well. Some of you may be disappointed with your results. There are many options open to you to improve your results. Try again; don’t give up now,” she said.

Gauteng had the second highest pass rate in the country, at 81,1 percent. It followed Western Cape’s rate of 82,9 percent. Eastern Cape hit rock bottom with a pass rate of just 58,1 percent, the lowest in the country.

The Education Department director-general, Bobby Soorbaryan, said the results were evidence of intervention programmes introduced by the department. “This is evidence of a maturing system, teachers have come to grips with the curriculum.

“The Class of 2011 was smaller than the Class of 2010, which shows that it’s a system searching for equilibrium,” he said. Also in 2011, a total of 329 question papers were written.

The highest office in the land has also congratulated the class of 2011 for a job well done. President Jacob Zuma released a statement saying: “We would also like to draw special attention to those matriculants who, even though faced with adverse learning conditions, performed exceptionally well.

“You have demonstrated not only to your peers but to the rest of the country that your circumstances do not determine what you can and cannot do. We wish you well in your future plans.”

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