Matrics in shock as they are demoted

This group of matriculants from Emshukantambo Secondary School was told to go back to grade 11 after their results were erroneously adjusted by their school.
This group of matriculants from Emshukantambo Secondary School was told to go back to grade 11 after their results were erroneously adjusted by their school.

A group of 52 pupils from a Soweto school have been  instructed to repeat grade 11 after initially being promoted to matric.

The pupils from Emshukantambo Secondary School in Pimville said their hopes were dashed after  Gauteng department of education informed them last week that they could no longer be in grade 12.

Their grade 11 marks were apparently adjusted by the school, helping them to pass.

However, Provincial department  spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed today that the group of learners were “erroneously promoted” to grade 12 by the school.

One of the Emshukantambo Secondary School pupils who was told she should go back to grade 12.
One of the Emshukantambo Secondary School pupils who was told she should go back to grade 12.

Mabona said the department will send psychologists to help the pupils deal with the situation.

“An investigation has been launched and necessary disciplinary actions will be instituted against any official who might have erred. It was a technical and processing error from the school,” Mabona said.

This development has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the learners and their parents.

Relebogile Mokgethi, whose child was also demoted, said she nearly had a heart attack on Wednesday when her daughter called to tell her that they had been removed from their grade 12 classes and returned to  grade 11.

“It is humiliating. My daughter called me and she was crying because she said the teachers took their group to the hall and told them they could not continue with grade 12 and had to go back to their former classes,” Mokgethi said.

She said this was bizarre because the principal explained to parents during a meeting three weeks ago that they would need to play an active role in their children’s studies this year.

“He said they will have camps for the kids and that learners will have to attend morning, afternoon and weekend classes so that they are able to pass this year and we committed ourselves to this plan because no parent wants to see their kids fail” she said.

Another parent, Senzo Nkomo, said their children’s misery was compounded by the treatment they have allegedly been receiving from some of the teachers following the district’s decision to demote them.

“Teachers have also been ill-treating them, saying they are stupid. It hurts our children,” Nkomo said.

One of the pupils, who asked not to be named, told Sowetan  they have been left in limbo after they were told that they had been mistakenly promoted to matric.

The pupil said the group had started the academic year along with other matriculants.

“On the first day when we returned from the holidays we were not allocated classes. There were 52 of us from three streams who did not appear on the list. We were later told that we were not promoted,” the pupil said.

The pupil said district officials met with their parents two weeks ago where they were told that their marks were mistakenly adjusted.

“But, they then said it’s okay and we should remain in grade 12, but we had to work hard to pass – by attending morning, afternoon and weekend classes. Our parents agreed to assist us in order to make sure that we passed,” she said.”

Another pupil said the incident had been a roller-coaster ride and had left them embarrassed and unable to go back to school.

“We have been attending classes and have been submitting assessments, now we’re  being told that we have to go back to grade 11. It’s embarrassing to us,” the pupil said. 

William Zulu, from the National Governors Association, an organisation representing school governing bodies in Soweto, said it was wrong for the department to return the pupils to the lower grade.

“The kids and their parents are right. Their marks were adjusted so they could be in matric. The problem is that this was not captured in the system at district level even though it’s where it was signed off,” Zulu said.

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