South Africa’s final countdown

South Africa: As the hours slowly tick away and the days to the final Grade 12 examinations quickly draw closer, we can only hope that our learners are ready.

South Africa: As the hours slowly tick away and the days to the final Grade 12 examinations quickly draw closer, we can only hope that our learners are ready.

This is a crucial time when all the preparations, since the first day of schooling began at the beginning of the year, finally come into practice. Naturally, there will be anxiety. That is what learners naturally go through, but I am certain that once they take their seats, doors to their examination centres are closed shut, and there is dead silence, and all they hear are the footsteps of their invigilators, they will be able to calm themselves down and do well.

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When Minister of Basic Education Mme Angie Motshekga visited Kgolathuto Secondary school in QwaQwa on 16 October, we held a prayer service for the Grade 12 learners to wish them well for their examinations. As the candle fire, hoisted high by learners, illuminated the dim school hall, there was a feeling of hope triumphing over fear. There was a sense of imminent victory. A feeling of a determined learner who would never allow worry to deter him at the final hour.

Our learners walked into the venue, some visibly nervous, but they left as a bunch of confident young men and women fully aware of the task ahead and willing and ready to tackle it head-on. I am certain that when the results are announced early next year, MEC Tate Makgoe will once again walk away with the title of the best-performing province. The promise to other provinces still stands: Re tla ba pheta, re ba phete, ho fitlhella ba tlwaela!

We are confident that when Minister Motshekga announces the results in January, Free State province will set an unprecedented record of making it four consecutive number-one spots.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, given the preparations we have made, that we will achieve this feat. We are not ignorant of the fact that there are rogue elements which will want to tarnish our good name. Our warning to them, particularly teachers who may give in to the temptation of money in exchange for question papers: Do not do it.

The price to pay will be too high, and all future prospects will go up in smoke. We, therefore, appeal to you all to maintain order and discipline at this crucial time. We won’t allow ill-discipline to soil our good name. We certainly won’t allow the barbaric killing of teacher Matefo Mphoseka to dampen our spirits. Forward we go.

As the heavens opened yesterday and rain fell, I found myself lost in thought. A thought that, in a few months, when results are finally released, our learners, most of them from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, will finally have a shot at a better life. Good grades will see them receiving bursaries to institutions of higher learning, which in turn will set them on a path to a better life.

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When the rains continued to patter on my window, the optimist in me chose to believe that it was a sign of blessings for our learners.