Johannesburg – The Kurpershoek family from Middelburg has attributed ‘a lot of grace’ to the performance of their son who became the top achiever in the Mpumalanga 2020 matric class following in his sister’s footsteps who scooped first place in the class of 2019.
The 18-year-old Willem from Hoerskool Middelburg obtained seven distinctions in all his subjects and scored the highest marks in the province.
His sister Greta who went to the same school also enjoyed the same fate in 2019 when she got distinctions in all her subjects and was named the top performing learner in Mpumalanga.
“It is a lot of grace that both my children became top learners in the province. A stable family home and teaching them to work hard for everything they want has contributed to their achievements,” said the father Pieter, a pastor.
While his sister studies Actuarial Science at the University of Pretoria, Willem plans to join his sister at the same institution to study medicine.
“It was a bit frustrating studying during covid 19 but I eventually accepted the situation which made things easy for me. I drew a lot of inspiration also from my sister and it showed me that it was possible to achieve. I want to encourage the class of 2021 to keep a positive mindset and constantly work hard everyday,” said Willem.
Another leaner who beat the odds was Dester Desalegn from Higveld High School in Elukwatini a rural area 150km outside Mbombela.
Desalegn came in second place for the top achievers in quintile 1 school in the entire country.
Despite the lack of resources and disruption of school, the 18-year-old who aspires to study genetics and developmental biology also obtained seven distinctions for all her subjects.
“I had no tutor to assist me with my studies. I only relied on my school textbooks and study guides. It was was not easy but the support I received from my family coupled with hard work really assisted me to achieve the results that I received. Those who are following us must stay focused and study constantly,” said Dester.
Meanwhile, a total of 39 367 of the 53 391 candidates that wrote the 2020 exam passed, which placed the province at 73.7%, a decrease from 80.3 per cent obtained in 2019.
The leading district with the highest results obtained was Bohlabela and Nkangala Districts both sitting at 74.6 per cent, followed by Ehlanzeni District with 74.5 per cent and Gert Sibande at 70.9 per cent.
With 555 schools registered as examination centres, 30 of those obtained a 100% pass rate.
MEC for Education in Mpumalanga Bonakele Majuba said the top ten performing learners including the top three from no-fees boarding schools would each receive bursaries from the Ephraim Mogale Provincial Bursary Scheme.
“I congratulate them for their excellent achievement and wish them well in their quest to further their studies,” said Majuba.
Reporting by Lungile Dube.
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