Khayelitsha school aims for 90% in physical science

The quintile 2 school in Site C received an award from the Western Cape Department of Education for improving its physical science pass rate from 37% in 2021 to 88% in 2022. All photos by Asive Mabula

The Grade 12 learners at the school this year say they are feeling the pressure to beat the 70% pass rate achieved by the class of 2022.

Intlanganiso Senior Secondary School in Site C Khayelitsha improved its physical science matric pass rate and was honoured at a recent award ceremony that was held at the premier’s residence. Despite a lack of resources that impacts the provision of quality education, the 2022 matric results in the Western Cape saw an improvement among schools like Intlanganiso, in the lower no-fee quintiles. Quintiles 1, 2 and 3 are classified as no fee schools because they are based in poor areas.

Intlanganiso improved its physical science pass rate from 36.6% in 2021 to 87.5% in 2022 despite not having a functioning laboratory for the subject. The teachers rely on Youtube videos to demonstrate experiments. The school principal, Mntuwekhaya Tshemese, said that it is the commitment from the teachers as well as attention to maintaining teacher-learner relationships that has led to their success. The school’s physical science teacher, according to Tshemese, developed a good relationship with the learners, taking them for hikes over weekends for team-building and to keep their minds refreshed. “The learners don’t want to disappoint their teachers,” he said.

Siphelele Zosiwe, a resident of Site C who was once a student at Intlanganiso is the school’s physical science teacher. “There are compulsory afternoon classes that we had put in place from the onset for last year’s class, because learners often relax early and begin to panic as the year ends. We also allowed them to self-organise according to their different pass levels; this allowed them to lift each other so that no learner gets left behind. They were all responsible somehow for each other,” said Zosiwe.

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Zosiwe added that the matric class of 2022 were a unique group, because they started their physical science journey in Grade 10 during the Covid-19 pandemic and the curriculum coverage was not up to standard. This was again the case during their Grade 11 year, and by Grade 12, they had to work extra hard to cover all the outstanding lessons.

Grade 12, physical science learners from Intlanganiso Senior Secondary School: Mbuso Oupa, Aluve Phambaniso and Lusakhanya Maseti

Over the years, the school has gotten assistance from the Cape Town Science Centre to conduct their experiments. “Intlanganiso Senior Secondary School contacted the Cape Town Science Centre to book the outreach team for assistance with their physical science practical experiments on motion in one dimension (acceleration), Newton’s Second Law of Motion, Boyle’s Law, and the conservation of linear momentum, and their response towards the Science Centre’s assistance was positive and we hope to return to the school,” said the centre’s communication coordinator, Hayley Axford.

The current Grade 12 learners told Elitsha that they are under pressure to do better than the 2022 class. “There is pressure amongst us students to work harder and beat the current 87,5% physical science pass rate,” said 17-year-old Aluve Phambaniso.

Lisakhanya Maseti (20) said that he has attended after-school study classes since Grade 11 and even with the self-discipline to study on his own, he is still feeling the pressure to do better.

The school hopes to achieve at least 90% in physical science this year.

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