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SA education impact fund proves to have real impact on matric performance

29 January 2018 Old Mutual

The 75.1% pass rate achieved by the matric class of 2017 shows an improvement on the 2016 pass rate of 72.5%. Far exceeding this national average, however, was the 92% average pass rate achieved by 10 of the schools invested in by the Schools and Education Investment Impact Fund of South Africa (Schools Fund). The average bachelor pass rate of the Schools Fund was 42.8%, also exceeding the national average of 28.7%.

While obviously welcomed and celebrated, this superior performance is not unexpected, says Lala Steyn of the Old Mutual Alternative Investments’ Development Impact Funds’ team – the team that manages the Schools Fund. “The institutions invested in by the Schools Fund have consistently performed above the national senior certificate (NSC) average. This is as a result of the Schools Fund partnering with school operators who are committed to providing access to affordable quality education.” 

“The first and largest education impact fund of its kind in South Africa, the Schools Fund has produced impressive outcomes, including the enrolment of approximately 16 500 students across 24 schools and employing 1 074 staff, of which 560 are teachers.” 

Steyn says that of these 10 schools invested in by the Schools Fund, two achieved perfect matric pass rates. “Princess Park College in Pretoria and Meridian Cosmo City in the north of Johannesburg both achieved 100% pass rates. 

“Meridian Cosmo City also achieved the highest bachelor pass rate for the NSC exams in their area with an impressive 72.4%.  Northern Academy was awarded best independent school in Limpopo Province for the 2017 NSC Grade 12 examinations,” Steyn adds. 

Among the great results achieved by many top achieves in 2017, Steyn highlights one young man’s inspiring story. “Everything was going well for Neo Rakuba when he was elected as head boy of Meridian Rustenburg in 2016. However, in April that year he was diagnosed with leukaemia and spent the rest of the year in hospital receiving chemotherapy and other treatments. Later his condition worsened and he was moved to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria. 

“Despite all this, Neo beat the cancer and returned to school to finish Grade 12 in 2017. He achieved excellent results in English First Additional Language, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Physical Sciences and Computer Applications Technology, achieving an overall average of 71.43%,” Steyn says. 

Speaking about his ordeal, Neo said despite being completely isolated during parts of his treatment, he never lost hope. “I never saw myself as having leukaemia. I just tried to maintain a positive mind-set, forever smiling and never blaming anyone for the disease,” he stated.  

On 13 January Neo received a standing ovation at the Curro Holdings’ top achievers event at Emperors Palace, where he was honoured with an award for a Learner Achieving Academic Excellence despite Adverse Circumstances. During the prize-giving event, his grandmother was filled with pride. “It was painful to see Neo so sick, and doctors said that he will never be able to write matric. But, he pulled through and he went on to finish grade 12. I am incredibly proud of him,” she said. 

Steyn relays that Neo has been accepted to study B.Com Marketing at the University of Johannesburg this year. “Neo’s story is one of courage, dedication and resilience, but this story is just one of many that have been made possible by the exceptional work being done by the Schools Fund,” Steyn concludes.

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