Debbie Schäfer was at Westerford High School last week as a mom first and Education MEC second.
Her twin daughters had come to check their matric results and celebrate with their peers, all of whom had passed – Westerford held on to its 100% pass rate, and all but two of the school’s 178 matric candidates, including Ms Schäfer’s daughters, have bachelor’s passes.
“It’s a lot more emotional than I expected,” she said. “It’s really a milestone in any parent’s life, especially when you have two the same age. So it’s the beginning and end of school for us. It’s very exciting, I’m very proud. We just carry on with life and don’t always think of the impact. I’m so pleased that they’ve done well.
“I’m especially pleased that the Western Cape has again achieved the highest percentage of bachelor’s passes in the country, with 39.1% of learners achieving this pass. We maintained the highest retention rate from grades 10 to 12 in the country once again.”
Overall, schools in the southern suburbs performed well, with Rustenburg Girls’ High School, Bishops and Rondebosch Boys’ High all maintaining 100% pass rates from 2013 to 2017. Erin Solomons, from Rondebosch Boys’ High, placed third in physical science in the country.
Vista Nova School, Cannons Creek Independent School, Claremont High and Herschel Girls’ School all also obtained a 100% pass rate this year.
Other top performers included Sans Souci Girls’ High with a 98% pass rate, Pinelands High 98.4%, Groote Schuur High 98.2%, Livingstone High 98.6%, Walmer Secondary 97.6%, Oude Molen Academy of Science and Technology 92.1%, Rosebank Progress College 92.5%, Harold Cressy High 95.1%, Thandokhulu High 88.9% and Queens Park High 94.9%.
Schools that did not do so well were Salt River Secondary with 53.7%, down from 61% in 2016, and Zonnebloem Nest Senior school, which dropped from 85.1% to 69.4%.
Rhodes High School, in Mowbray, obtained a 70.7% pass rate and Stonefountain College, in Kenilworth, got 64.7%.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the national matric pass rate of 75.1% on Thursday January 4, although matrics in the Western Cape only got their results a day later.
The Western Cape came third, with a pass rate of 82.8%, down by 3% from 2016 and behind Free State with 86% and Gauteng with 85%.
Ms Schafer said the Western Cape had been one of five provinces with a drop in the pass rate.
“We’re not isolated, so it makes me feel a bit better. Socio-economic circumstances could be an issue, over crowded classrooms could be an issue. There a lot of things that impact on education, sometimes it’s just the environment. sometimes papers are just difficult,” she said.