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While the year 2020 was the most challenging for Grade 12 learners, who were compelled to study from home for almost five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school WhatsApp groups and support from teachers have contributed to the positive outcome of the matric results.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the results of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in Pretoria on Monday, which saw the national 2020 matric pass rate of 76.2%

Della Cooper, aged 19, from Muriel Brand School for learners with special educational needs was awarded with a Special Ministerial Award.

Della attributed her success to the school teachers and a school’s WhatsApp group organised by the school.

“The WhatsApp group and great support from our teachers helped me throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Although I was nervous prior to the start of the exams, I was confident because we started preparing and did revision long in advance before the exams started.

“My parents also helped me with my school work. I did fall behind … , but I managed to catch-up and I’m happy that my hard work has paid off,” an elated Della told SAnews. 

With COVID-19 still with us, Della encouraged this year’s matriculants to continue being at the top of their work.

“Revision is very important and they should keep focus and continue from where they were operating last year,” Della said.

She said the future looks bright for her and she intends to further her studies at one of the universities, where she would be studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Development and Management.

Another top achiever, Takudzwa Chikonye from Bhukulani Senior Secondary School in Soweto, admits that at the beginning it was difficult to study alone without the teachers in front of them, but thanks to the teachers’ assistance, he was able to focus on his studies and completed all the tasks submitted by the school teachers through a WhatsApp group.

“They [teachers] gave us stuff to do and topics to do research on, and this helped me a lot, including the previous papers. When the exams started, I was anxious and scared but I told myself that I’m going to relax and stay focussed,” the 17-year-old Takudzwa told SAnews.

Takudzwa scooped the third place for top learners in Physical Science, nationally.

“I’m excited but I’m a bit scared because it is going to be the first time living alone without my parents. I’m looking forward to the new challenge,” Takudzwa said.

His advice to this year’s Grade 12 learners is to focus on their studies.

“I admit that there’s lot of pressure from peers but they should focus on their studies, and forget about destruction from outside.”

Takudzwa’s father, Taurani Chikonye, encouraged parents to speak positively to their children, as opposed to putting pressure on them.

“Find out what your child is good at, and support them. He didn’t have a laptop or computer, but we made sure that he had enough data for his research and we also relieved him from most house chores.

“For him, there was no pandemic. He was very disciplined and didn’t use the COVID-19 as an excuse for not pushing himself. What is happening today is overwhelming, and I’m so emotional. I’m not able to hold back the tears,” said an emotional Chikonye.


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