Sophumelela High the comeback school

Posted / 31 March 2021

In 2019 Sophumelela Secondary School was, for the first time in 10 years, one of the under preforming schools in the Western Cape. This is according to the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED), which describes a pass rate below 70% as under-performance.
The school managed a pass rate of 69% in 2019 with 136 learners out of 197 that wrote and in 2020 they got a 72.6% pass rate with 159 learners out of 219 that wrote, an increase of 23 learners which 3% , during a pandemic year. “We took this challenge in our stride, it did not become a stigma, as we know that we are not underperformers”, says the school principal Mr. Mzimasi Hoho. This Mathematics and Science high school is situated in Samora Machel an informal settlement in Philippi Cape Town. Added to its challenges of high unemployment, high crime, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy, with most of its learners coming from child headed homes, was COVID-19 with all its regulations. But the school thrived despite these circumstances. Mr. Hoho emphasizes that, the crucial aspect in the school’s 2020 matric results is not quantity but the quality passes, “Out of the learners who passed, 56% of them, 90 learners, got bachelor passes. This is a 15% (34 learners) jump from 41% in 2019 results.” The school achieved a record 14 distinctions in gateway subjects like Mathematics and Physical Sciences and 10 distinctions in Life Sciences, one of the challenging subjects in the district. “To have a learner with seven distinctions, with 100% in Physics, is encouraging and it is more encouraging as it is the second year in a row.” In the 2020 WCED awards, Sophumelela had two learners in the top 40 learner achievers in the province, another milestone in the school’s history since its inception. Mr. Hoho says, this achievement was accomplished by learners who were open to learning and teaching, as well as “committed teachers who sacrificed their time, money and energy to teach learners under very difficult times of Covid-19.” “To all colleagues in the teaching fraternity I want to say, don’t be discouraged by yesterday’s disappointments, believe in what you do and your systems and keep on marching. Something is going to give at the end of the day” says Mr. Hoho.

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