Home News Lenasia special school bags 100% matric pass rate!

Lenasia special school bags 100% matric pass rate!

by Zahid Jadwat

The MC Kharbai Special School for the Deaf in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg has a good story to tell, boasting a 100% matric pass rate for 2022.

On Thursday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced an 80.1% pass rate for the matric class of 2022. More than 900 000 pupils from across the country – the largest cohort – wrote the national senior certificate exams in November.

“2022 was a very long journey and a very difficult one,” said Mary Chauke, through sign language interpreter Ongi Sisilana.

Originally from Mozambique and now living with her stepmother in Lenasia South, Chauke was one of the many learners who pushed against the stacked odds.

She believes education is important for deaf pupils as they need to learn how to navigate a world wherein not many people understand them.

“As a deaf child, education is very important. Communicating with people, being able to access either through sign language or written language … We need to understand how to communicate with each other,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s very hard for hearing people to understand sign language, but with writing there’s so many challenges outside and we actually do need education,” added Chauke.


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Challenges for matric learners

Perhaps all learners across South Africa would attest to the challenges faced by the matric class of 2022, due to the multifaceted social issues currently gripping the nation. However, things were harder for less fortunate learners like Neo Mngwevu, who hails from the Lawley Station informal settlement.

“Coming from an informal settlement was very hard because we don’t have electricity,” she said, adding that things might have been harder without support from the school.

One of the disruptions learners had experienced in common was the Covid-19 pandemic. The class of 2022 entered matric when much of the world shut down, forcing them to adapt through online learning. For Mngwevu, it wasn’t an easy one.

“Children learn much better when interacting with the teacher physically. It was hard, but we managed to pull through,” she said.

Loadshedding, as Chauke noted, was particularly disruptive for her. She said while pupils eventually adapted to life with Covid, loadshedding was often unpredictable.

“Loadshedding became a problem in terms of studying, especially at night. Sometimes you have to practise and other times you have to work and there’s no lights, which means you have to use candles which is quite difficult,” she said.

Mr Pillay, a math teacher at the school, said teachers and support staff worked tirelessly to make the 100% pass rate a reality.

“The sacrifices that the teachers made throughout this year [2022] was the key. We did not drop the ball; we never slept throughout the year. Even when the learners were under pressure, we just motivated and we carried on,” he said.

He added that the achievement was a manifestation of the potential of disabled pupils. He encouraged people to look at what they can do instead of what they cannot do.

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