Address by the Honourable Premier of the Northern Cape Mrs Hazel Jenkins on the occasion of the Provincial Matric Awards, Kimberley City Hall, 5 January 2012
5 Jan 2012
Honourable MEC for Education, Ms Cjiekella
Members of the Executive Council and the Provincial Legislature
MP Charl de Beer
Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Education DG – Mr Justice Bekebeke
Executive Mayors, Mayors and Councillors
Canon Russel Visser
HOD Pharasi, Chief Directors, Senior Managers and Departmental Officials
Officials and Members of School Governing Bodies
Representatives ofvarious donors and sponsors
Parents, Principals and Educators
Leaders and Officials of our Educator and Learner formations
Members of the Media
The people of the Northern Cape
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is truly a privilege to yet again be part of this matric awards ceremony . As I look around, I see beaming parents, proud relatives and friends, and well maybe not so satisfied leadership and officials of the Education Department; - please stay positive, this is not the end of the road, just a bend.
Many of you here today would have been ever present in the developmental andeducational lives of our award recipients; Many of you would have been there on the first day of starting school of our awardees, to the last day of high school; helping with homework, preparing lunches, attending parent meetings; and here you are again today; Proud! Happy and Satisfied!
You truly deserve a round of applause!
To the class of 2011: all your hard work has paid off.
Years of hard work have brought you to this moment, this place and this time.
This is your time; your time is now!
Each one of you has travelled your own road to get here, but you are here together on the threshold of your future. You are brimming with confidence, filled with unbridled optimism and hope, and ready for the infinite possibilities and opportunities that await you.
What we see in you; what your parents, relatives and friends see in you is the pride and future of our province and our country and our continent. We are here today, in our numbers because we believe in you; we believe in you because you believe in yourselves.
Today is a celebration of your achievement and contemplation of what now lies ahead.
Your achievements today have availed opportunities for you and given you choices which are yours to take and make.
Ladies and Gentlemen; Ceremonies of this nature are symbolic events where a few exceptional individuals are singled for direct recognition, but where at the same time we are celebrating something much bigger.
These awards and many similar ones must therefore be seen in the context of promoting better performance in all our learners and should serve as an incentive for those who follow.
Allow me to pay tribute to a special group of candidates, from especially our previously disadvantaged communities, who through their own performance proved that if all things were equal, each one of our children would be able to perform and excel according to their God-given talents and be the best that they can be.
Ladies and Gentlemen the 2011 National Senior Certificate examination was written by a total of 10 183 candidates in the province; of these 7 002 candidates passed, and 3 181 candidates were not successful, giving the province an overall pass rate of 68.8% which is a decline of 3,6 % compared to the 72.3% pass rate in 2010;
Ladies and Gentlemen these results were not what we had hoped for and expected in terms of the provincial average, but we are finally beginning to witness, for the very first time, the positive results of what we have been aiming to achieve since the advent of our new dispensation -the improved performance of learners from our previously disadvantaged communities.
The 2011 national senior certificate examinations, for the very first time made it possible to only have one Provincial Top Twenty List, based entirely on merit and the true and actual performance of all our learners.
It is worth noting that in this year’s Provincial Top Twenty,a total of seven of our top twenty candidates, which is 35%, are from previously disadvantaged communities. Two of these candidates feature in the top five, with a third candidate making it three from our previously disadvantaged communities featuring prominently in the top ten!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have reason enough today to be proud of our learners and proud of our Province.
In what must rank as perhaps the biggest and best news of this time, deserving of a thunderous applause and a standing ovation, is the featuring of one of our Top Candidates in the NATIONAL Top Ten Candidates in the country; Jamie-Lee Albertrams- Prins, Congratulations!!! We are truly proud of your prestigious and historic accomplishment!!!
In addition to this milestone academic achievement, two of our learners, from our previously disadvantaged communities, from our township schools, are joint recipients of our Top Mathematics and Science awards; Charles Pitso from Dr E.P Lekhela High school is our Top Mathematics Candidate. Kagiso Scott from Vuyolwethu High School is our top Physical Science candidate.
Ladies and gentlemen, the overall result is admittedly not the desired outcome, but the overall achievement certainly sets us firmly on course to reach the goal that was set when almost one hundred years ago, men and women, from all walks of life and drawn from the entire population in our land came together to find common ground and common cause to save our country from inevitable ruin.
This is an overall provincial pass rate that we are less than pleased with, yet we are hugely encouraged by the number of positive developments that the performance of our learners, particularly from our previously disadvantaged communities and our disadvantaged schools, in this examination presented us with!
In another interesting development, two of the candidates in the one and only provincial Top Twenty list that we have this year, are twin sisters from the Northern Cape high school.
While these results may not be the desired outcomes, the overall performance of our learners is certainly pointing to a maturing and stabilising system as more of our previously disadvantaged learners have, this year, recorded milestone achievements in critical subjects.
Ladies and Gentlemen as we continue to celebrate excellence, we must ensure that all our programmes of building quality across the entire system from the Programme for Learner Attainment and The Matric Intervention Programme, continue to be enhanced and extended to , include those of our schools where there is no quality as reflectedtoday by the 38 schools that achieved pass rates below 60%.
MEC Cjiekella, as we build quality across the entire system, we must again ensure like in 2010, that urgent corrective steps are taken to immediately halt the 3% decline in our overall pass rate.
I am sure that the MEC, as would all of us, agree that something more drastic, more urgent and more intense, other than mere lip service needs to be done to ensure good quality, not only in Grade 12, but across the entire system, from Grade 1 right up to Grade 12.
As we have said so many times before, the critical importance of the involvement of parents and our communities in the education of our children cannot be over-emphasised!
And very often the difference between failure and success is the extent to which parents are involved in the education of their children.
As parents and as communities, we have a right and a duty to ensure that our children are at school every day; that they are in class, they are learning and they are being taught.
We call on our parents, all our parents to report children who bunk classes and are seen roaming the streets!
In the same breath, we also call on our educators to ensure that they do what they must do in our schools and particularly in our classes. They must teach our children and do whatever else they need to do outside of their official duties, outside, and after official school hours.
We require today, more than ever before, the total and practical commitment of all stakeholders which must go far beyond the usual empty rhetoric to reflect an unwavering determination to see our education succeeding – the Quality and Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC), offers all of us an opportunity to do so.
The QLTC recognises that the role of parents, educators, public servants and the community at large, is central to the consolidation of a culture of learning and teaching, particularly in those of our areas and communities where such a culture is not yet fully entrenched.
Ladies and Gentlemen: We continue to be encouraged by the good performance of many of our schools and our learners in the province, some of which operate under very difficult conditions. Some of these schools like the 21 schools that posted 100% pass rates continue to perform according to our expectations and beyond;
We certainly hope that many of our schools emulate their shining example, including the six schools that dropped their 100% rating from last year. We call on all of our young people not to let their socio-economic status dictate and limit their chances of furthering their education and increasing their skills levels.
Ladies and Gentlemen, government, together with our social partners remains committed to ensuring that no deserving young person, from whatever walk or station in life, is denied the opportunity of developing to their fullest potential through a lack of resources.
In this regard, I take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the following donors; Assmang, De Beers, FNB, Maskew Miller and SKA foundation, for their continued generous support. Nagomso!
To those of our children who did not succeed, we urge you to rise above this temporary setback and work your way back to success. Many a great man in history did not always succeed in their first attempt, but after persevering and working harder, they came up with some of the greatest inventions in modern life.
You have been given a second chance in the extended May/ June supplementary exams; grab it with both hands and make sure that you succeed this time around.As you make and take those choices, education remains the great equaliser and the great facilitator.
As you make and take those choices, understand that success in life will not be determined by what is given to you, or what happens to you; your success will also be determined by what you do with all that is given to you; what you do with all that happens to you; how hard you try; how far you push yourself; how high you are willing to reach
Ladies and Gentlemen, true excellence only comes with perseverance.
We understand that you are in the middle of exciting times; you are in an age of a popular culture that says you can be rich and successful without much effort; you just have to become a celebrity!
We live in a culture that tells you there's a quick fix for every problem and a justification for every selfish desire. As you are about to venture into the real world, the world of adults, the world of work, please be cautioned that meaningful achievement and lasting success does not happen in an instant.
It is the large choices and the small choices that you make that add up over time. It is about the skills you build, and the knowledge you accumulate, and the energy you invest in every task, no matter how trivial or menial it may seem at the time.
Ladies and Gentlemen; as I am about to conclude, today is not a time for long speeches; it is a time for celebration- I wish to offer my final piece of advice to our awardees; always learn to give back and to be part of something bigger than yourselves.
Like many of us, you may feel like you have got enough on your plate just dealing with your own life. It might be easier to tell yourself that other people’s problems really are not your responsibility.
Let us just pause and think about the consequences of this for our country; if our leaders and founders of the oldest liberation movement in Africa, the ANC, would not have taken a similar approach.
What would have happened if those heroes and heroines in 1912; in 1921; in 1956; 1976, among others, would have refused to sacrifice their lives and volunteer their services for the greater good of all?
As we celebrate with our achievers today, lets us spare a thought to think about those brave young men and women who made huge sacrifices to ensure that the correct assertion contained in the freedom charter that the doors of learning and culture are opened to all, is given concrete expression; and today we reap the fruit of their sacrifices,
We are here today because those people made a noble choice. They chose to step up and answer their country’s call.
Today, through these awards, we are asking you to emulate their good deeds by seeking to have the same kind of impact with your own lives; by pursuing excellence in everything you do; by serving this province, this country and all our people, without fear or favour.
May I in conclusion, take this opportunity to wish everyone present here this morning, your families and relatives, all our partners in the broader education family, everything of the very best for 2012.
Issued by: Northern Cape Office of the Premier
5 Jan 2012
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