NSC Awards for Outstanding Achievement by Learners and Schools in 2011
Premier Helen Zille,
All dignitaries welcomed by the Master of Ceremonies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am so proud and honoured to be here today to acknowledge the outstanding success of schools and individual learners from throughout this province in the 2011 National Senior Certificate examinations.
The majority of us here, whether candidates, parents, teachers, principals or officials of the WCED, can relate to the apprehension and excitement we all experienced just a week ago before the announcement of the results.
But deep down, I was confident that the Class of 2011 would do us proud. The combined efforts of all have brought us where we are today - the top performing province in the country with an increased pass rate from 76.7% to 82.9% and a number of other significant improvements in learner outcomes in just one year!
For this we all celebrate. While we achieved significant progress in the percentage pass rate - on its own a noteworthy feat - we celebrate also the improvements made in improving the quantity and quality of passes.
For example, in 2011, the Western Cape exceeded its previous record of the number of candidates who have achieved access to Bachelor Degree study. Eight-hundred-and-one more learners qualified in 2011 than in 2010 - an increase of 6.5%. Special mention must be made of the fact that more than 16% of learners in Quintiles 1, 2 and 3 who wrote the NSC examinations qualified for Bachelor Degree study in 2011.
We also saw increases in the pass rate in Mathematics and Physical Science, increases in the number of schools that achieved a pass rate of 90% or more (191 in 2011 compared to 174 in 2010) and increases in the number of schools that achieved a pass rate of 80% or more (269 in 2011 compared to 224 in 2010).
Improvements in the quantity and quality of passes achieved by our candidates are a result of our learners' hard work and effort, but are also indicative of a maturing provincial education system responding positively to a number of systems improvements.
This is also evident through the increase in the retention rate in our system. If we consider the number of candidates who wrote the NSC in 2011 compared to those that entered the system 12 years ago, the retention of learners has improved by 16.5% in the last two years.
But what has been most notable in the 2011 Western Cape results is the improvements made in reducing the number of underperforming schools. Sensible systems management has now shown positive results with the number of underperforming public high schools dropping by more than 60% from 78 in 2010 to 30 in 2011.
The Metro East education district, for example, achieved a decrease from 20 underperforming schools in 2010 to seven in 2011, with the Overberg district reducing their number of underperforming schools to zero in 2011 from four in the previous year.
If we are to consider the fact that the number of underperforming schools decreased from 85 in 2009, to 78 in 2010 and now 30 in 2011, this is a remarkable achievement.
We are also pleased to see that across Quintiles 1, 2 and 3 - being schools in the poorest communities of our province - the percentage pass rate increased to more than 70% in 2011.
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 here today, I should like to thank you for the hard work that you have put into your studies throughout your school years. This hard work has now paid off, and I sincerely hope that you realise just how proud this government, this department and the people of the Western Cape Province are of your achievements.
We are delighted to have amongst us the top candidate in the country.
It is no secret that Ashraf Moolla from Rondebosch Boys' High School came out tops in the 2011 NSC and I would personally like to congratulate him on this impressive achievement.
Many people aren't aware that Ashraf is the second of two Moolla brothers that have made it to the top ten candidates in the Western Cape. Their parents must be extremely proud of what all their children have achieved.
But before me, I see the faces of many other proud parents, guardians and caregivers. Having one's children write and complete their NSC exams is never easy - I have gone through it myself three times! All I can say is that it is a stressful time for all in any household.
But given what your children have achieved in the NSC, you have every right to be proud. Thank you to you, and to the countless other parents from our Grade 12 class of 2011, for giving their children the support they needed throughout their school careers. Parental support for our learners education often goes unnoticed, but is fundamental to the growth of our children.
We acknowledge that some of our candidates in the Western Cape do not have the support structures that they deserve given various situations in our society but have excelled and reached this point despite living and learning in very difficult circumstances. This is a testimony to their courage and perseverance. A special congratulations to them!
To all learners here today, a reminder that the end of your "school" career is just an extension of your "learning" career and I sincerely hope that you continue to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you in tertiary or other forms of education.
But while we have many individual learners that have excelled in this year's NSC, I am just as proud of our schools as a whole.
When we first analysed the NSC results I was pleasantly surprised by some of the individual school success stories of 2011. For instance, moving from a school that has serially underperformed for years to one that is achieving over 80% is no easy feat. This was the case in at least two of our schools.
Imizamo Yethu Secondary in Thembalethu in George improved its pass rate from 27% in 2010 to 82% in 2011, and more importantly, ensured that 55 more candidates passed the NSC examinations in 2011 than in 2010. Masiyele Secondary in Khayelitsha obtained similar results improving its pass rate from 34% in 2010 to 86.8% in 2011 and ensured that 60 more learners passed Grade 12 in 2011 than in 2010. An impressive achievement!
We also saw many schools significantly increase the numbers of learners passing this year. Schools like Bloekombos Secondary increased their numbers passing from 97 in 2010 to 147 in 2011 and Desmond Mpili Tutu from 98 to 150.
I would like to congratulate all of our principals who have ensured that their schools' targets were appropriately set and suitably attained in 2011 with the support of the education district offices and circuit team offices.
My sincere appreciation goes to all the educators who have successfully prepared the candidates for the 2011 NSC examinations and whose dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed.
Thanks must also go to the educator unions, governing body associations, universities and various education organisations for the role that they have played in supporting the efforts of the WCED in 2011.
We are pleased with the overall outcome of the 2011 NSC examinations and are aware of the steps that need to be taken to improve the quality of education in the Western Cape even further.
We believe that the good progress made in improving education outcomes in the Western Cape since 2009 is the product of a maturing provincial education system and we believe that this progress can be sustained through the continued promotion and protection of teaching and learning time.
I would like to end by wishing you all a Happy New Year.
Let's continue to do whatever is necessary and possible throughout 2012 and in the years ahead to ensure that we build on the momentum created in the past two years.