Johannesburg - It’s every principal’s dream for his school to achieve the kind of matric results that Dainfern College did in the 2021 IEB matric exams -- and which they have done for 21 years in a row.
Principal Matthew Davies said the 100% pass rate the school achieved was a “measurable celebration”, and shows the tenacity of students who are not necessarily at the top of the pile. And while Covid certainly threw every challenge at the class of 2021, Davies said they accepted the challenge and surpassed even their wildest expectations.
The 2021 IEB pass rate is 98.39%, slightly up from 98.06% last year.
“We are so proud that 55% of our learners achieved a B pass or higher. In the past two years, we have had to literally re-design our programme on a weekly basis. But we are blessed that we have a strong IT structure,” he said.
Davies added that the key to the school’s success was “planning” for any and every eventuality.
“2021 was by no means an easy academic year, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic necessitated the continuation of an adaptable academic delivery. The exceptional sets of IEB and Cambridge results achieved by the Class of 2021 are testament to their resilience, grit and commendable work ethic, as well as the dedication and professionalism of College staff,” he said.
“In December, I usually grow a beard. My beard has now been transformed to snow white. I always ask the students ‘have you tried your best?’ and if the answer is yes, then there’s nothing more to be done,” he said.
The Dainfern College Class of 2021 achieved superb results for both IEB and Cambridge A Level, achieving a 100% pass for both academic streams. The top students in both streams averaged in the 90s, with a full house of distinctions in the subjects written.
An ‘A’ at A Level is equivalent to a mark in the 80-89% range, and an ‘A*’ is in the 90-100% band. This differentiation is not used in AS level, where an ‘A’ symbol is equivalent to a mark of 80% and above.
ISASA executive director Lebogang Montjane said while the results are not much different from previous years, they are exemplary for all South Africans.
“Everyone adjusted. Fortunately we didn;t have to trim our curriculum. I do believe 2022 will be easier, having come through 2020 and 2021,” he said. But Montjane said while ISASA is happy and grateful with the performance of the class of 2021, we should remain cautious.
“I think a better question is when will we, as a country, go back to full contact schooling? The academic year has just kicked in and there are still schools where teaching and learning have not started,” he said.
Dainfern’s top A Level student, Hamza Mahmood, achieved A* for Mathematics and Physics and an average of 94.25% across four subjects. Top IEB student Jenna Sampson achieved eight distinctions and ranks in the top 5% of the IEB in five subjects, and the top 1% in Afrikaans and Geography.
“I expected to do well, but I am still stunned. I am very excited. We had bubbly last night,” she said. Sampson said although the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on her studies, the support from her family and the school played a huge role in her achievement. She plans to pursue a B.Sc degree at either Wits or UCT.
Alexia Duvenage raked in seven distinctions and said the results reflected her efforts.
“I have such a love for academics. I love learning and I love this school. Online learning forced us to become a lot more disciplined. But I did like going to school more,” she said.
And while Duvenage didn’t get a car as a gift from her parents, she remains in a state of euphoria. The 18-year-old plans to study Data Sciences at Stellenbosch University.
Kate Adendorff, who achieved six distinctions, said she had always loved school, and her Day 1 started on the first day of school when she entered Grade 1. She’s grateful for her friends and everyone who helped her.
“I really relied on seeing people. Online learning was very difficult for me. We were not used to it. But we needed to adapt, and we did,” she said. Adendorff plans to study towards a B.Comm degree at Stellenbosch University.
Katelyn Marais, with four distinctions, said while she had hopes of doing well, there were a few subjects she was worried about.
“For me, the online learning was complex and it was a huge adjustment. But once we got it, it was easy,” she added. The star pupil, who turns 19 in two weeks, said to maintain a balance, she walked her dog for an hour each day, she swam and still enjoyed spending time with her friends.
“My parents gave me my mom’s old Audi, so I am revving to go to university, '' she said. Marais plans to pursue a BSc Maths degree at Tuks University.
Meanwhile, principal Davies encouraged the class of 2022 to “find the courage to connect again. Find the connections that have fallen by the wayside. Move away from the flat screens and move towards each other.”