The district has been the best in the past three years despite disruptions.
THE annual drama of matric continues. And the release of the Grade 12 results at the beginning of every year is an exceptionally long-running government production that by now rivals a Lloyd Webber blockbuster.
Countrywide, learners, teachers, parents and civil society sweat through the matric endurance test.
However paradoxical that a school with such a lesser enrolment can perform so dismally as opposed to another with learners the size of an army?
The jaw-dropping irony in the 2017 matric results in Limpopo came with contrasting results from Mohlotlwane and Mbilwi secondary schools.
Mohlotlwane in the Sekhukhune District in Seotlong Circuit shamed all and sundry when they achieved zero per cent pass rate – all the 21 leaners failed!
However, far from the land of King Sekhukhune, Mbilwi once again defied all odds and achieved a 98 % pass rate.
Vhembe, the district where Mbilwi is found, is the best performing notwithstanding the disruptions they experienced last year when Vuwani turned into a tumult as over 20 schools in the area were set ablaze.
The district has been the best in the past three years and has improved on its 2016 performance of 70.3% to 76.6%, making it the very best in the province.
Though Sekhukhune has improved on its serial underperformance by 5.5%, it remains at number five with a pass rate of 57.3% but continues to fall under the category of underperforming districts along with Capricorn.
Despite having overcrowded classrooms and poor infrastructure, Mbilwi, a public school which was established in 1978, always come out tops in the fields of maths and science.
During its inception, the school did not have a proper science laboratory until 2003.
Head master Nyambeni Cedric Lidzhade was crowned Limpopo’s 2016 principal of the year while Mbilwi was named the best school in the province.
Lidzhade, who attended Mbilwi as a child and has taught there for three decades, continues to teach life sciences.
Outlining the school’s success story earlier this week, Lidzhade said the school manages to stimulate interest in pure mathematics and has fast become South Africa’s breeding ground for excellent future scientists, boasting an impressive matric pass rate for over a decade.
“It takes special programmes to enable our learners to succeed and we pay great attention to the foundation phase. Lower grades come in on Saturdays for maths and physical science lessons. This helps a great deal in preparing them for Grade 12. There is no need for pupils to fear maths and science. As challenging as these subjects can be, they are what our country needs” Lidzhade quipped.
He attributed the success of Mbilwi to commitment from stakeholders such as community members, traditional leaders, the school governing body, religious leaders, teachers and the learners themselves.
But this is not what happens in Sekhukhune where Mohlotlwane fails to be the custodians of this societal phenomenon called education.
Not even the learners are proud of themselves hence they are an embarrassment to the system.
“We feel very bad about our results. It is painful…our marks are pathetic to say the least. Our parents will not be impressed by what we have achieved. We have brought the name of our school into disrepute. “However, we will go back and try to improve on our performance” said one leaner who opted to speak on the basis of anonymity.
Learners say they don’t have teachers in the subjects of mathematics, accounting and business economics.
One of the concerned community members, Mathikiti Thobejane bemoaned general waywardness among learners, effectively ascribing this alleged misdemeanour as the root cause for the matric fiasco.
“The 2017 matric results at Mohlotlwane are not something to write home about. As a parent, I am deeply saddened and disappointed at the same time.
“However, there is something that even pains me more: the appalling behaviour among several learners from this school. They bunk their lessons and roam the streets when they should be learning.
“Some of them get drunk during school hours and eventually get up to mischief. How can we achieve better results if learners behave in such a despicable manner?” Thobejane asked rhetorically.
Limpopo MEC for Education, Ishmael Kgetjepe has registered his displeasure regarding Mohlotlwane’s melancholic performance.
He said: “These kinds of schools will be subjected to merging to ensure that we have schools that are viable in terms of numbers, and to ease provisioning of both human and physical resource.
“We appeal to communities to cooperate with us to ensure that these schools are rationalised to serve the best interest of learners.”
Kgetjepe went on to say: “To demonstrate our seriousness about improving the state of affairs, we call on all of us to participate full in efforts to liberate ourselves from conditions that hinder the flourishing of our education in the province.
“We must double our efforts and be serious about empowering children by continuously improving their access to quality education which will ultimately or in the end open doors to jobs and further qualifications. There has to be quality in both teaching as well as learning in our schools.
“This implies leadership and responsibility from district managers to our educator for successful implementation of all our plans in order for us to keep moving from strength to strength.”