Excellence is available to everyone

I recently came across inspirational stories about two local learning institutions (Penreach and Christel House) that have been achieving exceptional results in the face of enormous economic and social challenges.

To give you an idea of the outstanding academic results, these are stats taken from the latest reports.

“At Christel House in 2011, all but one student passed unconditionally. But they weren’t just passes – 70.8% achieved a bachelor’s pass, and more than half the 2011 Grade 12s had results good enough to secure bursaries or learnerships.”

“Grade 12 learners wowed their tutors and teachers as they produced 15 A’s and 35 B’s in the 2011 NSC Mathematics and Physical Science exams, paving the way for a professional career” – Penreach High school.

These institutions are tied by their common goals to serve the surrounding communities and provide opportunities for underprivileged students. However their similarities extend beyond a desire to “provide schooling” or produce high achieving individuals who obtain good marks.

The matrics from these learning entities outdid their high school counterparts across the country despite coping with domestic violence, neglect, abuse, severe poverty and the ever present threat of HIV/Aids.

This is evidence that the institutions are developing well rounded individuals who possess the life skills and values in addition to the academic discipline needed to achieve their dreams.

There is has been much talk about providing an education for all but very little thought is given to producing individuals that will carry the values that will turn our hostile nation into a fair and free society.

Institutions like Penreach and Christel House are in the process of creating a generation who will be responsible for their actions and demand a society where justice and equality come before ambition and success.

These entities exemplify a model education system.

It is interesting to note that both Penreach and Christel House have cited a “holistic approach” as the foundation of their educational practices. 

Is it better teachers, better facilities, or a stable home environment that will see young people excel at school? According to these case studies it is the earnest desires of educators, parents and scholars, that will see a transformation taking place and excellence achieved in even the most destitute communities in South Africa.

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