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It’s all over except for the celebrating as Joburg matrics flocked to their schools to check the evidence of their 12 years of hard work.

Joburg matriculant Helen Pege, from Mondeor High, refused to check the newspaper when the results came on Thursday, 6 January.

Anxious moments Anxious moments “What if there was a mistake and my name isn’t in there, can you imagine how I’d feel. No thanks, I’ll rather just get it from the school, at least then I know there won’t be any mistakes,” she said.

She was just one of many Joburg learners who flocked to schools to find out the results of their 12 years of hard work.

For the first time ever, Gauteng is the top performing province with the highest matric pass rate in the country -- 78.6 percent, up 6.8 percent from 2009.

Speaking at Wits University’s Linder Auditorium on the day, education MEC Barbara Creecy said, “This means that we are only 1.4 percent short of our 2014 target of 80 percent.”

Aiding the province in the high matric pass rate is Mondeor High School, in the south of the city, which managed an impressive 97.3 percent pass rate from a large class of 303-learners.

Learners greeted their classmates excitedly, asking each other if they’d passed and how well, while some pored over papers on the ground looking for their names.

Many nervous parents were also in attendance, wringing their hands and checking their watches, waiting for the handing out of results to begin.

“Of course I was nervous,” exclaimed Dennis Stone, who came with his son Justin to collect his results. “I couldn’t even wait till today, I found out his results last night from a source at one of the newspapers. I’m really proud of him though... He wants to become a civil engineer.”

Remarkable achievement
The national pass rate is 67.8 percent, up by 7.1 percent from 2009. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga described the results attained by the class of 2010 as a “remarkable achievement” saying a possible reason for the department falling just shy of their 70 percent goal could be the public sector strike.

Matriculants congratulate each otherMatriculants congratulate each otherIt was business as usual during the strike at Mondeor High, which made every attempt to make sure the students were fully equipped for their exams. Extra classes were held after school, on weekends and in the evenings.

None of the school’s teachers took part in the strike and the school operated as usual over the turbulent period, even whilst striking civil servants protested outside the school.

What with the shortened class time due to the FIFA World Cup and the stresses of the civil servants’ strike, matriculants were sure to have found the year challenging.

Tshidiso Ramogale, who achieved five distinctions, disagrees. “It’s all about putting in the work in your own time. You need to work by yourself and push yourself if you want to achieve anything in life.”

 “Our teachers were really supportive and motivated us to do our best. We as a grade also supported each other. We would have our own study groups and feed off each other’s knowledge,” said Ramogale, who plans on studying for an LLB in law at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Vangelia Nicolaou, principal of the school, was extremely proud of her learners’ results and the hard work put in by educators. “We hope to achieve a 100 percent pass rate this year and I know that we can do it. We will identify the weaker students and work with them to get the results we’re aiming for.”

Nicolaou hopes that the class of 2010 will “take the education they’ve been given and go out into the world and make a difference”.

Top student of the school Iris Nxumalo, who pulled off an impressive six distinctions, said, “It’s still sinking in actually. It’s so weird to think that my high school career is over.

“I’m really proud of the Class of 2010, you can expect big things from us. Just watch this space.”

Nxumalo will be attending the University of Pretoria this year studying towards a BA in international relations.

President Jacob Zuma congratulated those who passed and improved the national pass rate but also sympathised with the 32.2 percent of learners who failed, saying, “To those matriculants who did not make it, we urge you not to give up. This doesn't mean the end of the world. We want to celebrate with you soon when you have emerged victorious after this setback; we are fully behind you all the way.”

Learners who did not pass should contact their high schools to find out if they are eligible to write supplementary exams or to discuss other options available.

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