Principal Stanley Mpangana of Magigwana High School in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, is running one of the country’s best schools, despite the many challenges faced by learners.
Magigwana was recognised as the best quintile 1 school nationally at the National Education Excellence Awards recently hosted by the Department of Basic Education. Quintile 1 represents the poorest schools in the country.
Themed ‘Celebrating excellence in districts and schools, and building back better with integrity’, the awards are based on education quality indicators (such as mathematics and science pass rates), rather than the overall National Senior Certificate (NSC) pass rate.
Magigwana obtained a 100% pass rate in mathematics, physical sciences and business studies, despite its large enrolment and disadvantaged learners. The school also secured a 100% NSC pass rate in 2020 and 96.2% in 2021.
“As a leader, it is important to get everyone to buy into your vision for the school. Resources and infrastructure will always be a challenge, but a motivated learner and teacher in a conducive environment will achieve great things, says Mpangana.
He adds that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the school still performed well.
“The Grade 12 learners were coming to school daily from 6am to 3:30pm and came for evening study from 6pm and 9pm. During weekends, we conducted some lessons for Grades 8 to 11; using a rotational system.”
Leading by example
Mpangana says he has always had a passion for teaching and instilling discipline in his learners.
“Since I started working as a teacher in 1991, I have had a passion for mathematics, physics and technology. My staff and I work hard and, as a team, have mutual respect and focus on the learners. We also lead by example; our words must match our work."
Honouring the teachers at the awards ceremony, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said they showed strength and resilience. “Let me assert my firm belief that we survived COVID-19 because we had men and women of integrity at the helm of our basic education system.”
Minister Motshekga encouraged the teachers not to lose focus. “Our purpose is to ensure that every child, regardless of their parents’ economic status, has sufficient stationery, nutritious food, books, a qualified teacher, decent sanitation, and the care they need in a secure school environment,” she said.