A GEORGE school – which with its 27% matric pass rate in 2010 was labelled dysfunctional – has received national recognition for its remarkable improvement.
For the first time this year, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) awarded its STAR school award to schools that improved their matric pass rate by 30 percentage points.
Imizamo Yethu Secondary School in Thembalethu exceeded this target – improving their results by 55 percentage points.
Within a year of joining the school from nearby Parkdene Secondary School, where he was deputy principal, Imizamo Yethu principal Derick Petersen put in place a plan that boosted the school’s result from 27% to 82%.
"This is huge. It will be forever engraved into the hearts of our students, their parents and our teachers. This is historical – never before has someone come to us to give us recognition,” Petersen said.
"We want to improve the pass rate in natural sciences to 100%. Last year the pass rate [in natural sciences] improved from 23% to 96%. We also want to improve our math results to 80%, and general pass rate to 95%.”
Petersen applauded the 48 teachers – the school has 1600 Xhosa-speaking pupils – who played a major role in achieving the excellent results. Trust, discipline and hard work contributed to the achievement.
"At the parents’ request many of the classes now take Afrikaans as a subject. Teachers, students and parents learnt to trust me, and together we made it happen,” he said.
"Discipline improved remarkably. There is nearly no absenteeism among teachers. Success was sweet and added a new sparkle in their teaching.”
ATKV group managing director Japie Gouws said they were "extremely proud” of the school, which received a prize of R10000.
"We want the city of George to take note of the stars in their midst, and we want the rest of the country to recognise this achievement,” he said.