ETHEKWINI Mayor Zandile Gumede honoured the top achieving learners in eThekwini, including those from disadvantaged schools, at an awards function held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on 25 January.
The top 10 learners from disadvantaged schools, the top 10 learners from eThekwini as well as schools that achieved a 100 percent pass rate in the 2016 National Senior Certifi cate examinations were recognised at the event with a number receiving bursaries. The hard work put in by principals and learners was also acknowledged as Councillor Gumede recognised the most improved schools in eThekwini as well as top performing pupils in mathematics and physical science.
Councillor Gumede said the awards were started 17 years ago and have helped a number of learners access to higher education. “While education is not a function of local government, we understand the importance of it as the primary weapon in the quest for a better life and for economic transformation.” She urged those who have performed well to continue to work hard and make the City proud. “As you embark on your new lives at universities, I urge you to continue to be focused. I also thank teachers and principals for their hard work as we entrust you with our children every day. I hope the awards also encourage more schools and learners to do well.” She encouraged the pupils to draw on inspiration from the late OR Tambo who would be turning 100 this year. “Despite the challenges he faced, he accomplished so much.
Even if you are from a disadvantaged background you can still do it.” Councillor Gumede also thanked the sponsors who worked with the Municipality to host the event and offer bursaries to top performing pupils. Top pupil in the disadvantaged schools category, Sthembiso Nzuza from Nkosinathi High School, said while he was surprised at being part of the ceremony, he was honoured to be placed first. “I am really happy,” he said.
Nzuza is looking forward to his first year as a medical student. Nomfundo Khawula from Embizweni High School in Umlazi was named second in the top 10 disadvantaged schools and said her hard work has paid off. “I never thought I would ever meet the Mayor. It shows that you can come from a disadvantaged background but you can still achieve great things.” Khawula intends studying a Bachelor of Commerce Accounting.
Romal Naidoo from Danville Park Girls’ High was placed first in the top 10 learners in eThekwini. Tholulwazi Secondary School was named among the most improved schools improving their pass rate from 47.8% in 2015 to 89% in the 2016 NSC exams. Siboniso Hlengwa, head of department for maths and science said they are pleased with the improvement following a departmental intervention plan.