Education fails dreams of learners
For years, Thokozani Hlatshwayo dreamt of becoming a pilot. His ticket to a high-flying career hinged on how well he performed in last year's matric results.
But instead of joining the throng of thousands of pupils who passed, last Friday he and several of his classmates at Mafemani Nxumalo High School in Thulamahashe were left confused and traumatised.
According to results published in all the major newspapers, Hlatshwayo passed with an exemption.
The newspapers and the Internet showed that he obtained an A in Xitsonga and maths, English D, biology E, home economics and Afrikaans an F.
But when he went to his school to confirm this, he got the shock of his life.
"I was so shocked when I got my statement of results from the school. It said I missed the Xitsonga exam while I actually sat for the whole examination. The statement said I failed matric and I can tell you now I have never failed any grade in my life," he said.
Hlatshwayo said his dream of becoming a pilot was shattered by whoever was responsible for the contradictory results.
His father, Shikobela Hlatshwayo, said he wanted to know where the newspapers and the Internet got the pass results if the education department did not supply them.
"I really fail to understand what is happening. The last time I checked my son was a genius and not the failing type," said the young man's father.
The provincial education department acknowledged the problem and said investigations were ongoing.
"What normally happens is that some results are withheld if markers have a reason to suspect that there was foul play, or if school principals have taken [a lengthy period] to submit annual marks," said Mpumalanga education spokesman Hlahla Ngwenya yesterday.
Grade 12 pupils from at least four schools in the Bushbuckridge area in Mpumalanga are caught up in the confusion.
Apart from Mafemani Nxumalo High School in Thulamahashe, pupils at Mahuvo in Allandale, Ben W Mashego in Casteel and Babina-Tau under the Cottondale Circuit are said to have all failed according to results supplied by the education department.
Sowetan has also learnt that 230 pupils from Mafemane Nxumalo High School have failed, according to the department.
Frustrated pupils from the school said their future was hanging in the balance.
"We can't negotiate with tertiary institutions because of this situation."