Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

12 January, 2011

Western Cape honours top matrics

Speech by Minister Donald Grant at the NSC awards for outstanding achievement by learners in 2010 at Leeuwenhof

Premier Helen Zille
Grade 12 learners who will be honoured today, and parents
Principals and teachers representing schools receiving awards today
Officials from WCED
Teacher union representatives
Representatives of Maskew Miller Longman, Mustek, and Sangari South Africa, who have generously contributed to the prizes for today's event.
Ladies and Gentlemen

Today is a day of celebration.

It is a celebration of the outstanding success of schools and individual learners from throughout this province in the 2010 National Senior Certificate examinations.

We will be honoring some of those schools and individuals here today.

But it must also be remembered that there are hundreds of other young people and schools that are not present, but that have also contributed to the improvement in the quality of education in this province.

It is together, as a quality team, that we have achieved success in 2010.

Congratulations to you all!

We have achieved some remarkable improvements - improvements of which we can all certainly be proud today.

Firstly, we can be proud that we have reversed a six-year decline in the matric results.

Secondly, we can be proud that in 2010 we saw more candidates than ever writing the NSC exams, passing the exams and achieving passes with access to higher education.

A central component of our vision for education in this province is to achieve greater retention of learners within the system. We are determined to ensure that every year increased numbers of learners write and pass their NSC. This will ensure that more and more young people have taken a major step along the road that will lead to their becoming full and productive citizens of the Western Cape.

Exactly this kind of increase has been achieved this past year, with more then 1100 candidates passing in 2010 than in the previous year.

Thirdly, we can be proud that we have improved the quality of passes achieved in 2010. We have successfully increased the pass rate in mathematics and science, increased the number of distinctions and increased the number of schools with a 90% and above pass rate.

Another reason for all of us to be proud and to celebrate is that only four out of the 35 139 candidates who passed did not get access to some form of higher education. In other words, 99.9% of the learners that wrote the National Senior Certificate examination now have access to even more opportunity to build a brighter future.

And finally, we can be proud that we have reduced the number of underperforming schools.

This turnaround in the pass rate and the increases in various indicators underscore that we are making significant progress towards achieving our overriding objectives, namely to retain greater numbers of learners in the system and to improve the quality of learner outcomes.

We will continue to build on this improvement, as we believe that these results are sustainable and credible, and are a reflection of an overall improvement in the state of education in the Western Cape.

We will continue to promote retention in the system, giving every learner the opportunity to write and pass the NSC.

We will continue to provide additional support for schools and learners in 2011. We will, for example, continue to use many of the successful interventions and programmes that we used in 2010, including our telematics and tutoring programmes and the provision of additional learning support material. But building on the experience of 2010, we will do this earlier and better.

We will also continue to set bold targets for our schools in order to increase the number of passes that we achieve in Grade 12 each year. These targets are challenging, but realistic.

This is underscored by the fact that 792 candidates missed passing by only 1% in the 2010 NSC exams.

It is also significant to note that 8 433 candidates qualified for supplementary exams.

We believe that once requests for remarking have been met and the supplementary examinations completed, there is every chance we would have met or exceeded our 2 000 additional passes target for 2010.

This will be an impressive achievement.

But today, our primary cause for celebration is to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our top candidates and schools in this province.

To the candidates sitting before me, I would like to thank you for the hard work that you have put into your studies throughout your school years. The result of this hard work has now paid off, and I sincerely hope that you realize just how proud this government, this department and the people of the Western Cape Province are of your achievements in these examinations.

Many of you have reached this point despite living and learning in very difficult circumstances. This is a testimony to your courage and perseverance.

One such learner is Robin van Dyk from Vista Nova School, a special needs school in Rondebosch, who has achieved excellence despite barriers to learning.

I would also like to recognize the achievements of Asavela Rawe. Asavela comes from Masibambane Secondary in Kraaifontein, a school that faces difficult social challenges. However, despite these challenges, Asavela has achieved an outstanding result in these examinations, with seven distinctions to his name, and will today be receiving a learner subject award for the highest mark in a subject. Congratulations!

Another subject award winner that I would like to acknowledge is Pieter Egbert Klue, from Langenhoven Gimnasium in Oudshoorn. Not only will he be featuring in our Top 20 positions in our province, but he too will be receiving, not one, but two subject awards this morning - a truly remarkable feat!

To these learners, and to all of you here today, I sincerely hope that you continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. If you do many doors will open to a brighter future.

To those learners who are disappointed with their results, please know that this is not the end of the road. We will do everything to assist you in improving your results in 2011, should you, hopefully, choose to do so.

Many of you can apply to rewrite specific subjects in the supplementary examinations. We would like to support you in any way we can so that you can achieve the pass results you are aiming for.

Today, we will also be making awards to some of our schools which have made significant improvements in the number and quality of passes achieved, including awards for our province's top performing schools.

Special mention must be made of schools like Bloemhof High School, with five candidates in our Top 20 category, Paul Roos Gimnasium for producing the highest number of passes at 30% and above in two subject categories, and Wynberg Boys' High for their consistent academic achievement according to a given set of criteria.

Zola Senior Secondary in Khayelitsha has shown a significant improvement in the numbers passing over the period 2008-2010 while maintaining or increasing enrolment levels of full-time candidates in Grade 12. They have achieved a remarkable 97 additional passes since 2008.

Livingstone High School in Claremont has produced four candidates who will receive special awards for meritorious academic achievement, and who will also receive a subject award for excellence in life science, producing the highest number of passes at 30% and above in this subject.

To all the principals, educators and other staff as well as governing body members at these schools, and the other schools in these categories, congratulations. Your dedication, commitment and passion for education do not go unnoticed. We continue to be proud of your efforts to improve the life chances of the learners that spend such critical years in your care and we thank you for your contribution to this province's success.

To the parents who have honoured us by being here today and to the countless 1000s of parents who have supported our Grade 12 class of 2010, my sincere thanks for your unstinting efforts on behalf of your children. It has been a privilege to have them in our schools.

I would like to end by wishing you all a Happy New Year. 2010 presented some challenges throughout. However, we embraced them and succeeded. Let's continue with this energy throughout 2011 and the years ahead, ensuring that we build on the momentum created in the past year.

Thank you.

For enquiries, contact Bronagh Casey:  072 724 1422 or

2010 Matric Awards ceremony - sound files:

Click here for Premier Zille's speech (17:02 minutes, 1 998 KB, "mp3" format) or download the 'zipped' file.

Click here for Minister Grant's speech (13:36 minutes, 1 596 KB, "mp3" format) or download the 'zipped' file.

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