Western Cape Government Honours Top Candidates and Schools | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Western Cape Government Honours Top Candidates and Schools

14 January 2014
Premier Helen Zille
 
My wife Cheryl
 
Superintendent-General Penny Vinjevold
 
Officials of the WCED
 
Members of the Western Cape Education Standing Committee
 
All dignitaries welcomed by the Superintendent - General
 
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
Good Morning, goeie more, molweni
 
What a beautiful day.
 
Five years ago, on 7 January, I stood at this podium with a speech entitled Turning Disappointment into Opportunity – given the regression in education in the Western Cape from 2004 to 2008, before this government came into office.
 
Last year, I congratulated the Class of 2012 for their "quality performance" after they succeeded in beating the records of all our key indicators of success.
 
These indicators include increases in the numbers passing and candidates with access to bachelor’s degree, decreases in the number of underperforming schools and improvements in the numbers writing mathematics and physical science.
 
This year, I am pleased and proud to stand before you to congratulate the Class of 2013 for their even more outstanding performance in the 2013 National Senior Certificate (NSC).
 
It certainly was a "quality result".
 
Well done to you all!
 
I should particularly like to congratulate those learners and schools that are present here today. Your outstanding achievement in the NSC is something to be proud of.
 
You represent quality – and quality is what this government aims to achieve when it comes to education, along with support for our poorer schools.
 
In the 2013 NSC, the Western Cape improved on its indicators of quality – particularly in improving the numbers achieving access to a bachelor degree.
 
The Western Cape not only beat our own records in access to bachelor’s degree study, but also performed the best in the country in this regard.
 
Increasing the numbers of candidates achieving bachelor passes is significant as it demonstrates a steady improvement in the quality of passes within the system.
 
Examination results are, however, not about numbers in isolation – they are about better life chances for our young people. It also means that more learners than ever before will now have the opportunity to apply for admission at higher education institutions.
 
Achieving this opportunity should not be taken for granted.
 
I was reminded of this when I visited Intlanganiso High School in Khayelitsha last Tuesday to congratulate them on the release of their NSC results.
 
During the ceremony, the principal, Mr Tshemese, was handing out candidate’s results individually from the school stage.
 
Then a young lady came onto the stage.
 
She was handed her results and she left the stage smiling. While walking back to her seat, she realised that she had not only passed her NSC, but had achieved access to a bachlelor’s degree study.
 
Well what happened next bordered on mayhem – she ran and jumped to embrace her friend who was sitting on her seat, knocking over chairs and some other candidates. They both fell over onto the floor in an excited embrace.
 
This young lady knew what this achievement meant.
 
The initial excitement turned to emotion as she repeated in a bewildered gaze outside the school hall. “I got a bachelor’s. I got a bachelor’s.”
 
I am pleased for her and all the other candidates that achieved access to a bachelor degree. I sincerely hope that they all make use of this opportunity and that their hopes and dreams come true.
 
Altogether, 19 477 candidates qualified for bachelor degree study in the Western Cape. This is 3 158 more quality passes in 2013 than in 2012.
 
While we can be proud that over 40% of our candidates achieved access to bachelor degree study we know we can improve this result even further. Since 2009, the total number of candidates qualifying for bachelor passes has steadily increased year on year from 14 324 in 2009 to 19 477 in 2013.
 
We are determined to continue with this trend.
 
Another area of which we can be proud is the number of subject distinctions achieved last year - many of which have been obtained by the young people that we have in this venue with us today.
 
The Class of 2013 achieved 22 208 distinctions in 2013 compared to 19 264 in 2012. This is an increase of 2 944 distinctions. 9 087 candidates achieved the 22 208 subject distinctions (this represents 615 more candidates than in the previous year).
  • 396 achieved five subject distinctions
  • 326 achieved seven  subject distinctions
  • 147 achieved eight subject distinctions
  •  28 candidates achieved nine subject distinctions
Whew, that is a lot of bright young adults!
 
That is what makes your being here today such an achievement, as the competition, is evidently very fierce.
 
While the individual candidate’s excelled, so did many of our schools. If we look at the results, our schools have made some significant improvements.
 
Of the 431 schools that wrote the 2013 NSC
  • 306 achieved 80% and above – from 263 the previous year.
  • 204 schools in total achieved a pass rate of 90% and above - up from 179 in 2012
  • 159 schools in total have a pass rate of 95% and above – up from 138 in 2012
  • 89 have a 100% pass rate – up from 65 the previous year.
At the same time the number of underperforming schools continues to decline, with 23 schools achieving less than 60% compared to 26 in 2012.
 
Our results, across the board, show that the system is qualitatively getting better and that our strategic and systemic improvements are proving, time and time again, to be successful in increasing the performance levels of all our schools.
 
Every school should aspire to achieving and improving on quality. We will continue to expect our academically successful schools to achieve good results, at the same time, assisting our other schools to improve, especially in our poorer areas.
 
We are already seeing some of our individual schools in poorer communities taking the lead in this direction.
 
Schools like COSAT in Khayelitsha, Spine Road in Mitchells Plain and Imizamo Yethu Secondary in Thembalethu near George, are but a few that come to mind.
 
I congratulate all the schools that will be honoured here today, whether you have achieved excellence in individual performance, improved your number of passes or increased numbers passing for Bachelor Degree study. Each of you is aspiring towards achieving or improving on quality, and for that you deserve to be congratulated and honoured.
 
Thank you to the principals that have met and improved on their targets for 2013, as well as our educators who had successfully prepared their candidates.
 
To each of the individual award winners, thank you for the hard work that you have put into your studies. I wish you all the best for your future success. To your proud parents and guardians -thank you for supporting your children throughout their school careers.
 
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 Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in 2013.
 
I include in this group the Western Cape Education Council, represented here today by Professor Nasima Badja.
 
A big thank you to all our eight District Directors and their staff for their dedication and support to our schools throughout 2013. Your contribution to this year’s quality performance has not gone unnoticed.
 
I would also like to thank the WCED’s examinations team for their excellent approach in overseeing these exams. I am especially grateful for your contribution in ensuring that the Western Cape achieves a credible quality result. 
 
As many of you are aware, the Western Cape is the only province to have made use of competency testing in selecting and appointing markers. 
 
This is important as it ensures the highest possible standard of marking and that the results in the Western Cape are a fair and accurate reflection of the abilities of our candidates.
 
We are confident that the Western Cape will continue to yield sustainable and credible improvements in the quality and number of passes in the years to come.
 
If we continue to work “Better Together” we can improve on the Class of 2013’s success.
 
Thank you.
Media Enquiries: 
Bronagh Casey
Spokesperson for Minister Donald Grant
Tel: 021 467 2377
Cell: 072 7241422
Fax: 021 425 3616
E-mail: bronagh.casey@westerncape.gov.za