South Africa 6.1.2017 07:20 am

How Free State shot into the No 1 slot

Free State Education MEC Tate Makgoe on the sidelines of the 2016 matric pass rate announcement in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Picture: ANA

Free State Education MEC Tate Makgoe on the sidelines of the 2016 matric pass rate announcement in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Picture: ANA

Denel came on board to help pupils through winter camps in mid-2016 to prepare pupils for the year-end examinations.

The class of 2016 in the Free State’s commitment to winter camps contributed to the province’s remarkable 90-plus percent pass rate.

The state-owned arms and defence products manufacturer, Denel, came to the table after the Free State education department requested its staff host winter camps and enrichment programmes mid-2016 to prepare matriculants for the year-end examinations.

In July, engineers from three Denel companies – Denel Dynamics, Denel Landward Solutions and Denel Aviation – gave academic enrichment classes in Trompsburg, Zastron, Fauresmith and Olien. Over a four-day period, they focused on teaching maths and science. Just prior to the start of the exams, the Denel team went back for a “final push” programme during the October holidays.

As a result, matriculants in the southern Free State emerged as among the top achievers in 2016. And although Xhariep district is one of the poorest areas in South Africa, it produced the second best results in the entire country after being number 78 in 2015.

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This contributed to the Free State’s 93.2% pass rate for the National Senior Certificate, making it the best performer of the nine provinces, with Xhariep being the leading district in the Free State.

Acting chief executive of Denel Zwelakhe Ntshepe said Denel was exceptionally proud of the contribution it had made to help Xhariep matriculants achieve these outstanding results.

“This initiative demonstrated how a state-owned company, such as Denel, can work together with the education authorities and communities to reach national goals,” Ntshepe said.

“Many of our young engineers come from rural communities and disadvantaged backgrounds and welcome opportunities to give back to society and share their knowledge and experience.”

He said Denel planned to extend its educational support programmes in the Free State and into other provinces.

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