The MEC for Education, Mme Maphefo Matsemela
The Executive Mayor of the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, Cllr Fetsang Molosiwa
The Executive Mayor of the Rustenburg Local Municipality, Cllr Mpho Khunou
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the North West University, Prof Dan Kgwadi
The Chairperson of the North West Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Education, Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Hon Kabelo Mataboge
The Superintendent-General of the Department of Education, Mme Stephinah Mmamotho Semaswe
The Section 100 Administrator of the Department of Education, Rre Johannes Mohlala
The Senior Management of the Department of Education
The Principals, Educators,Learners and Parents present here this morning
The Association of School Governing Bodies
The representatives of Umalusi
The leadership of all recognised labour unions in the Education sector
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Allow me to first and foremost refer to the words of the late President Nelson Mandela when he said “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation”.
Honourable MEC, I am refer to those words precisely because of the diversity of our society as reflected by the top achieving learners who were are honouring beneath this roof on this blessed morning.
Ladies and gentlemen, education knows no social or economic standing, it knows no race, colour, gender, religion or creed; for we all agree that every child has a right to quality basic education and today is a culmination of our effort towards achieving laying a basis for a bright future for these learners and the country.
MEC, you have already alluded that today marks the birth of the governing African National Congress 108 years ago at the Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein, making it the oldest liberation movement on the continent and most probably one of the oldest in the world.
We are therefore standing on the shoulders of giants, the founding fathers of the ANC; all of whom wanted an equal education in an equal society that gave our young people equal opportunities to be better people and build a better society than the one into which they were born.
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me so much pleasure to brag about the upward trajectory that we have witnessed as the North West in the annual, consistent improvement in our National Senior Certificate examination results; bar only one year in the last five years.
If one has to reflect on our performance and track record over the past five years, you will realise that in 2014, we obtained Position 2 nationally at 84.6%, in 2015 we scored obtained Position 4 with an 81.5% pass rate and in 2016 we obtained Position 4 with an improved 82.5% pass rate.
However, in 2017 – we dropped to 79.4% but remained on Position 4 and in 2018, we improved to 81.1% but still held Position 4 on the national matric results rankings.
We have always been amongst the top four best performing provinces in the country and the margin between us and the other top three has always been very close.
Ladies and gentlemen, with the class of 2019, as a Province, we have put our best foot forward with an 86,8% NSC Examinations pass rate – an all time high, if you ask me.
I would like to take this opportunity to congralute the MEC, the entire management, the SGB’s, the Principals, Educators and most importantly, the Learners for having done extremely well in ensuring that we claim our rightful space amongst the best performing provinces in the country – we are amongst the top three and we can only go higher and higher from here going forward.
You have managed to navigate a very difficult academic year that 2019 was; you managed to achieve despite the challenges that many of our learners faced as a result of disruptions to normal schooling brought about as a result of community protests witnessed in the last year as well as damage to varoius schools infrastructure.
You managed to achieve this pass rate despite the threat to the safety of educators and learners during these community protests that had nothing to do with the Department of Education but basic service delivery issues such as the provision of water, sanitation and so on.
This also led to us, as government to put into place alternative measures to ensure that teaching and learning is not disrupted because the future of our children cannot be compromised or made to be gambled with at their expense.
We had to ensure that there are extra and catch up classes; at times, at a great threat to the safety of teaching and learning.
Ladies and gentlemen, our children have a constitutional right to access quality basic education; without disruption or interruption, and it is our duty to protect that right.
Honourable MEC, congratulations, that in spite of the desperate efforts to disrupt the writing of the 2019 NSC examinations Bloemhof in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District and several areas in Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, these examinations proceeded without any interruption for the affected candidates at the incubation camps you provided.
I also wish to applaud the MEC and the Department of Education for conducting an irregularity-free 2019 NSC examination.
This says volumes about the systems that have in place and the vigilance of the examination team.
Furthermore, I wish to congratulate the Department for the implementation of Pro-Poor Programmes, namely the No School Fee Paying policy, the Scholar Transport system in the rural and farming areas, the National School Nutrition Programme as well as the Sanitary Towel Dignity Plan to specifically ensure that no girl child misses a day of schooling.
Ladies and gentemen, apart from addressing the social justice principles of access, redress, equity, inclusivity and efficiency in the basic education sector, a common thread that runs through these Pro-Poor Programmes is to restore the dignity of learners coming from indigent family background.
Without a shadow of doubt, the implementation of these programmes contributed immensely to the 86.8% in pass percentage.
In additioin, I would like to appeal to all sectors of our society and communities in general to take an active part in the development and education of our learners throughout the province through the Ngwana Sejo Programme – that advocates for an societal inclusive approach to basic education.
Working together, we can surely do more to improve the quality of life and the education of those we consider the future of our country.
It is my firm belief and hope that, as they go through this rite of passage, our class of 2019 will, in the near future add value to the economic development of this province and country.
The education system is on track regarding a further realignment of its curriculum with the world of work.
The on-going implementation of the Three-Stream Model of basic education which includes academic, technical vocational and technical occupational streams will hopefully succeed in its primary objective of changing the direction of the education sector to develop relevant skills to match the needs of our economy.
We are not mistaken when we decided to place Education at the Apex of our Priorities for the 6th Administration and we shall endeavour to improve the quality and standard of our basic education.
In celebrating the Class of 2019, we must also thank the principals, educators, sector unions, SGBs and parents for the work they continue to do.
Educators, in general, are at the coalface of curriculum implementation.
What you do at the school level, is what matters the most.
The future of our learners the prosperity and further development of our nation, is in your hands.
We are celebrating here today because the great work you continue to do on a daily basis and we wish to applaud you for that from the bottom of our hearts.
On behalf of the Government and the people of North West, I also wish to take this opportunity to warmly the Class of 2019.
Thank you for putting this beautiful province in the limelight.
An overall improvement of the NSC Examination results by 5.7% from 81.1% of 2018 is no mean feat!
But in spite of all the odds stacked against you, you showed character and prevailed.
We are counted among the top three performing provinces in the country because of you. In particular, we applaud you for raising the bar!
I am particularly excited by the fact that our province has raised the bar in almost all applicable performance indicators with regard to the NSC Examination results.
Honourable MEC for Education, allow me, at this juncture, to single out some of those that have achieved beyond our expecttation in the 2019 NSC Examinations in the North West.
Massive congratulations to Andries Lukas Schoeman from the Hartebeespoort High School here in the Bojanala Platinum District; who obtained seven distinction and in the process, scoring a total of 1695 marks in all subjects excluding Life Orientation and obtained more than 90% in his subject, making him the TOP ACHIEVER for the NSC Class of 2019 in the North West.
In addition, allow me to pass my sincere warmest congratulations to the Best Performing Farm and Special Schools in the Province.
A special mention to the management and learners of the Onkgopotse Tiro Comprehensive Farm School in Ngaka Modiri Molema District who obtained a 96.30% pass rate.
26 of their 27 candidates passed…
Allow me to also mention the Meerhof Special School in Bojanala District who achieved a 100% pass rate. All their nine candidates passed.
Lastly, let me congratulate the Christiana School for the Blind in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District for also obtaining a 100% pass with all their nine candiates passing.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate all the other top achieving learners and schools for 2019 and I am of the firm belief that next year, this time, the number of top achieving learners and schools in our province would have multiplied and we will be perched at the top of the best performing provinces.
I thank you.