Top achievers: the pride of the nation

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

South African parents continue to have confidence in South Africa’s public school system because of the performance of the top achieving learners, says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

“We’ve got a very big system. We have more than 12 million learners in more than 26 000 schools. What is gratifying is that South African parents, rich and poor, continue to have confidence in the public school system because of your performance,” Motshekga said.

Addressing the 2019 top-achieving learners in Midrand on Tuesday, the Minister told the learners that they are the pride of the nation.

“We are very grateful that in the public school system, difficult as it is, poor infrastructure as we have, you still managed to rise and be on top,” the Minister said.

A total of 790 405 candidates sat for 147 question papers in 7 416 examination centres nationwide. A further 212 learners wrote at correctional facilities.

“You are national assets, you are going to take the country to a different level. We don’t have to panic about the people who will drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said.

The Minister thanked the 30 learners for their dedication.

“You really make our work very meaningful. You have proven to be the best when you get to university be the best intellectual because we need those skills.

“You are going to be our engineers, doctors, specialists and academics. On an ongoing basis as a country we are growing our timber and this is the timber that is going to save us,” Motshekga said.

She said she is encouraged that the schools that are serving the poor are performing well.

The Minister hosted the top-achieving learners for breakfast. Later this evening she will release the National Senior Certificate (NSC) matric exam results during a live broadcast from Vodaworld in Midrand, at 6pm.

Seventeen-year-old Trevor Mashabela, a top learner for Maths, Sepedi, Geography and Physical Science from Rantobeng Senior Secondary in Limpopo shared how he prepared for the exams.

“I made a study time table which I used to plan my daily sessions. I practiced using previous question papers. This helped me practice how to approach questions during exams and it helped me understand how examiners set questions,” Mashabela said.

He advised learners in the class of 2020 to work hard, be disciplined and focus on school.

Mashabela will be studying Medicine at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine Dippenaar, who went to Paarl Gymnasium High School in the Western Cape, said she worked hard throughout the year and used the September exams as a trial run for the final exam.

She encouraged the class of 2020 to enjoy their last year at school and seize every available opportunity.

“Enjoy your last year at school, this is a year of so many lasts and I would encourage you to take every opportunity, don’t have any regrets regarding academics and fun activities you might have missed. Make the best out of the year,” she said.

Dippenaar will be going to Stellenbosch University to study towards a degree in BSC Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. –