Without teachers and school, matrics had to become their own supervisors.
The release of the matric results every year is a time when pupils, teachers and the entire education system heave a sigh of relief and savour the joy.
The fact that it will be a very similar scenario this year – at least in the ranks of the private and independent schools which sat the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) matric exams – is nothing short of amazing, given the disruption of learning in 2020.
The IEB cohort’s pass rate was a stunning 98.07%, slightly lower than last year’s pass rate of 98.82%.
Altogether, 88.42% of those who wrote achieved university entrance standard, a slight drop from 89.51% in 2019.
Anne Oberholzer, chief executive of the IEB, said the Covid-19-related upheavals of last year had been especially significant for those in Grade 12.
As the seniors in high schools, they had missed out during lockdown – not only on face-to-face interaction with teachers, but also on the rich noneducational side of school life.
Sports days, swimming galas and social events disappeared from the calendar and matrics were deprived of this vital stimulation.
Yet, at the same time, working from home appears to have inculcated a stronger independence and discipline as the matrics realised that the future was well and truly in their hands.
Without teachers and school, they had to become their own supervisors.
And that, hopefully, will serve them well when they venture forth this year into the real world outside the school gates.
The results by IEB schools – which include many under-resourced establishments – showed that, even where technology for online teaching is not available, resourceful teachers using “analogue” methods can work wonders.
It is to be hoped that a similar pattern emerges next week in government school matric results, because it will prove beyond a doubt that, when the going gets tough, South Africans get going.
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