Thandokhulu High School’s road to success

Mary-Jane Matsolo
Students leaving Thandokhulu at the end of the day. Photo by Gerard Feris.
Mary-Jane Matsolo

Thandokhulu High School in Mowbray is a school serving children from townships despite being in a middle-class area. With fewer resources than the other schools in the neighbourhood, Thandokhulu is nevertheless starting to achieve high standards.

With approximately 40 pupils per classroom, the school has achieved a steady increase in pass rates over the past two years. In 2009, Thandokhulu had a pass rate of 71%. This increased to 82% in 2010 and 86% in 2011. Despite the challenges of learning in crowded classrooms, the learners we interviewed said they have dedicated teachers who sacrifice their personal time for extra classes.

There is no assembly hall, so assemblies are held on the netball court. When it rains, assemblies are postponed until the next day. There are about thirty computers serving the 1,130 learners.

“We do feel inferior and intimidated when we see other children from the surrounding schools, because they think our quality of education is poor because of the appearance of our school, but even without all the facilities, we still manage to get a pass rate of more than 80%,” explained Fefekazi Ntoni, a grade-12 learner at the school.

Thandokhulu learners said they wanted to see their school facilities at the same level as the other schools in the surrounding areas. Ntoni says she would like more classes, so they can have more learners and not turn away people due to lack of space. She also wants better sport facilities for soccer, netball and cricket. At the moment, Thandokhulu uses the University of Cape Town’s sports facilities to organise events.

“The fact that our school is in Mowbray means it should have the same standards as the other schools in the area,” 17-year-old learner, Nosomi Kotebe, said.

The school is expecting funding soon to help it upgrade.

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TOPICS:  Education

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