Disability does not mean inability

Posted on Monday, 16 January 2017

By Pholisa Hashe

Category: Latest News

An Eastern Cape partially blind boy shone at the 2016 matric results release ceremony held at the International Convention Centre in East London recently, as one of the top achievers in the province, proving that having a disability does not mean you are unable.

The ceremony was graced by the Eastern Cape Premier, Honourable Phumulo Masualle and MEC for Education, Honourable Mandla Makupula as well as a number of invited dignitaries and 2016 top achievers. The Eastern Cape has improved its 2016 matric pass rate by3.3%, having achieved 56% in 2015 to 59.3% in 2016.This has given hope to the entire province that more good results will come in the 2017 calendar year.

21 year old Vuyo Sirhayi from Efata for the Blind and Deaf School drew attention when he took award for Special Leaner.

Sirhayi who was accompanied by his sister, because his mother passed away in 2015 said losing his mother was a very challenging experience, but because he wanted to make her proud he kept courage.

“Her words of always affirming me that she was proud of me, motivated me to push beyond limits,” he said.

“When my name was called I was very shocked, but I am very excited about my achievement. After the exams I was very sceptical, because it was not easy. I am relieved that all the sacrifice I have put in has paid off. It is not easy to study in a boarding school as I had to wait for everyone to sleep in order for me to be able to concentrate and the following day I would have to go to class without having had much sleep. It was very tiring and I also had to limit my time with friends and gave up on listening to music, which I enjoy very much,” he explained.

“I want to study Law at the University of Johannesburg. I have chosen Law, because I love debating and Law allows one to do that. Iam excited and confident about the journey I am going to take and I am ready for tertiary education,” Sirhayi added.

Eastern Cape Premier, Honourable Phumulo Masualle congratulated the top achievers and said he appreciates the improvement that the class of 2016 has achieved.

“This is atestament of a collective effort of the three year plan that has been put on function and an affirmation that matters can be changed,” he said.

“We need to ensure that the improvement accelerates and I believe that we are on the right path. We need to continue improving the conditions of our schools so we that we can continue to celebrate as this is a first instalment of the plan,” affirmed the Premier.

“Education is everybody’s business and we therefore need to encourage parents and other stakeholders to continue supporting our learners in every way that they can. As the Eastern Cape we are known by the rest of the country as the home of legends. We need to set the example for the country in the area of education as well,” he concluded.

MEC for Education, Honourable Mandla Makupula confirmed that the Eastern Cape results have improved from those of 2015 and that this comes in the context of a three year plan which commenced in 2016 and will continue to 2018.

“’The department is involved in different methods to try and improve the position of our education,” he said.

“We have 980 schools who offer grade 12and the plan is to pay attention to the 560 quantile1,2,3 schools with minimum enrolment of 200 and developing functional schools.We hosted a learner conference in June for those 560 schools where we provided leadership skills to the school management and the RCL’s student leadership. The principal’s conference was hosted in August. The department has contracted 139 experienced retired teachers to be mentors in certain schools around the province. We continue to work in support with stakeholders like Eskom, Zenex, Anglo Gold,Old Mutual and many more that help to improve our education,” Honourable MEC Makupula explained.

“All the efforts are because we believe that heroes come from an ordinary person and education is the key to development,” he said.

Top Achievers received bursaries from the Premier’s Office to study at the institution of their choice.

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