Excellent results for poor school

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The impoverished KwaMathunjwa High School in KwaNongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, has defied all logic with a 100 pass rate for the past 17 years.

The school has surprisingly outdone schools in urban and well-resourced communities.

Travelling to the school is like a journey to a prison. From the public road it is another long drive up the hill where it is situated.

Access on foot or by car, especially in wet weather, is difficult.

The small community down the hill is the only sign that there is life in the area.

The excellent results have gained the poverty-stricken community recognition in the province.

This has prompted MEC for education Ina Cronjé to visit KwaMathunjwa High and launch a further R3,2million infrastructure programme for its improvement.

In 2007 the school received its first reward for hard work when two blocks of classrooms, a media block, a staff room and two blocks of toilets were built.

Only a few years ago the school had a science laboratory built.

But four former students have gone on to qualify as medical doctors though their alma mater had not had a laboratory when they studied there.

Mthandeni Mbatha, the excited school principal, said the new block will help address the problem of overcrowding.

"Last year, for example, in Grades 10 and 11, there were about 56 pupils in a class, which made teaching extremely difficult."

He said there is no secret behind the 100 percent pass rate, as this can be achieved at all schools if principals, teachers and pupils put in an extra effort and worked as a team.

"We don't look at the area or the community we are coming from and let that disadvantage us. The fact that we did not have a science lab did not stop us from producing doctors and engineers.

"We used what we had to teach such subjects," said Mbatha.

Congratulating both teachers and pupils, Cronjé said her department plans to invest over R6million in the school.

"The school has a wonderful history of excellent matric pass rates but has been battling with poor resources."

She said she was pleased that 88 percent of the pupils wrote maths. "This is impressive as it indicates a quality pass rate."