Gauteng’s schools of excellence falter to poor-performers category

Gauteng’s schools of specialisation, vaunted as centres of excellence, have reported a mixed bag of results for the National SeniorCertificate (NSC), with some slipping into the under-performing category.

A total of 29 schools of specialisation wrote the NSC exams, recording an overall pass rate of 85.8%, reflecting a 2.38% increase from 2022. However, a closer look at the figures shows a concerning picture of declining performance standards.

More than half of the schools  show a decrease in pass rates, with one  recording an 18% decrease is success rate.

The schools, which are the brainchild of the Gauteng department of education (GDE), offer a specialised curriculum to pupils who show potential in maths, science, information, and communication technology (ICT), entrepreneurship, sport and the arts.

They are aligned in terms of curriculum offering with Gauteng’s special development zones,  which includes the automotives sector, mining, aviation and green technologies.

The application process to enrol at the schools is also different in that the potential of pupils rather the location is the key determinant of entry to the schools.

Since 2016, the GDE identified 30 schools across the province, repurposing and refurbishing them to be centres of excellence for the skills that are needed to drive the economy of Gauteng and South Africa.

Of the 30 schools, 29 wrote the NSC exams; one is a skills school which does not offer grade 12. 

In its technical report released on Friday, the GDE shows that NSC performance across the schools of specialisation ranged from 64% to 100%.

Raymond Mhlaba Maths Science and ICT School of Specialisation achieved the highest pass rate of 100%, an improvement of 0.6% from the 2022 results. 

The school is situated in Tshepisong, Roodepoort, on the West Rand. It has a special focus on mining and was officially launched in October last year.

Of the 258 matriculants, 84.5% achieved a bachelor pass and 13.95% a diploma pass.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Tembisa Commerce and Entrepreneurship School of Specialisation in Ekurhuleni achieved the lowest pass rate of 64%, representing an 8% drop from last year’s 72%.

Of the 29 schools that participated in the NSC exams, 14 dropped in performance, 14 improved and one remained unchanged.

Magaliesburg Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation improved its pass rate by an impressive 25% from 67% in 2022 to 92% last year.

While Mandisa Shiceka Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation improved by 24.64% to 97%.

The drops in pass rates were just as spectacular for the schools that slipped into the danger zone.  Khanya-Lesedi Sport School of Specialisation’s performance declined by a staggering 18.38% from 85% in 2022 to 67% last year.

Tembisa and Khanya-Lesedi will be categorised as underperforming schools this year for failing to meet the 70% pass rate threshoLd.

Mapenane Maths, Science and ICT School of Specialisation slipped from a pass rate of 94% in 2022 to 87% last year. 

The first school, Curtis Nkondo Maths, Science, ICT,  Engineering, Commerce and Entrepreneurship launched in 2016, improved its pass rate by 7.32% to 95.93% in 2023.

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