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03 January 2018


It is with great pleasure that we announce a 100% pass rate for the matric class of 2017. All 40 of the candidates who wrote the final Independent Examination Board (IEB) exams were successful, with 83% of them achieving a degree pass, which enables them to go on to study at university. The remaining 17% achieved a diploma pass, giving them access to tertiary education.

This is a great achievement by the learners, and we would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to each one of them. We are proud of the achievements of the Class of 2017. Learners have again shown that with a commitment to hard work over their 12 years of schooling and, supported by a dedicated team of teachers and parents, they have achieved the first major milestone in their learning careers.

Bishop Bavin matriculants achieved 27 subject distinctions (over 80%), with Mathematics, Maths Literacy, isiZulu Home Language and Life Orientation the subjects in which they particularly excelled.

Our top learners performed as follows:

Ivan Xu was placed in the top 1% of all IEB learners in the country in Mathematics.

A new lens is needed on tertiary education and lifelong learning
Our world offers many new fields of study to explore and fields of work that were not available 20 years ago. Gone are the days when a successful development path meant good high school grades followed by a university degree followed by post-graduate study and then employment with a salaried income in a protected permanent post with guaranteed benefits of pension, housing allowance and medical aid. The modern world is far less certain. More and more we are seeing the traditional paths not necessarily resulting in the expectations our parents had.

“As the world around us changes, it is inevitable that traditional educational pathways will be challenged and demands will be placed on the mass education system to respond appropriately. The advances in technology have already enabled alternate learning spaces – blended learning, online study. These in turn have exposed the need for the development of new cognitive competencies. Globalisation and the integration of societies across traditional boundaries demand that citizens develop appropriate social and emotional skills to manage a variety of non-traditional relationships effectively. Possibly the most important development is a recognition that the knowledge, skills and abilities nurtured in a traditional educational pathway and at traditional mass education institutions are not the only route to success. As Einstein explained: ‘If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’,” says Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB.

The age of the IT professional has turned the traditional notions of success upside down – Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs all dropped out of university but have contributed enormously to the world we live in today. South Africa’s Mark Shuttleworth founded his digital certificate company, Thawte, while still a student. The key to their success was a keen interest in a field that demanded a change in attitude from the traditional ways of acquiring knowledge to an exploratory, entrepreneurial spirit of discovery.

The world of the performing arts and entertainment has many, many examples of people who found that the traditional academic educational pathway was not for them – Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron. Many great sportsmen and women have opted out of traditional routes of schooling to pursue their passion. The very gifted in these areas are already showing their talent and drive as early as 5 or 6 years old but certainly by the time they are in their mid-teens – Mozart, Picasso, Leonardo DiCaprio, Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar. There are many who work in fashion and who knew at an early age that the traditional educational path was not for them – Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Laura Ashley, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren and Bonolo Mataboge, SA founder of the fashion label Afriblossom.

“It is essential that the young democracy we have in South Africa opens up opportunities to develop the range of talents of our youth – a range of institution-types that cater for the diversity in our society and provide an outlet for the potential that is in our people. The current system directs everyone along the path of an academic school-leaving certificate; then, because of the absence of a range of institution-types to choose from after schooling, and even within the Further Education and Training sector, we lose many young people along the way.

It is not useful for everyone to be focussed solely on a university education, possibly neglecting their real strengths in the false belief that a degree is the only vehicle to a secure and successful life. This is no longer the case and more and more, it is those who defy this myth that find the path that releases their talent and their enthusiasm to be the very best they can in a field that has captivated their interest,” explains Oberholzer.

By the time learners have completed their compulsory schooling at the end of Grade 9, there are many who are clear that their specific skills and interests do not lie in the pursuit of academic studies.

“However we have very limited opportunities for learners whose talents and interests lie outside a traditional classroom and a traditional academic curriculum. Access to a range of specialisation options – sports academies, schools of music and the performing arts, dedicated functional colleges for technical study, construction and mechanics, institutions dedicated to ICT, schools that specialise in Maths, Science and Engineering, hotel and hospitality schools, language schools – are almost unheard of in South Africa and yet specialised schools, comprehensive high schools that accommodate a breadth of opportunities and functional TVET colleges are fairly commonplace in many countries.

It is this lack of opportunity to accommodate the diversity of talents among South African learners that contributes to the excessively high number of learners who leave the education system without any qualification at all,” says Oberholzer.

The challenge for schools is no longer the development of only academic skills and the identification of content for success in a specific discipline. In addition to the social and emotional skills required from our young people, they must develop proven characteristics of success, namely perseverance
and persistence; problem identification and solution; the tried and tested approaches alongside thinking outside the box, possibly even without the box!

Our world is so complex and filled with intractable problems that we need creative, integrated solutions and resilience, so our workforce of the future cannot afford to limit their thinking by defined discipline-specific boundaries. The challenges of our daily lives require more than intelligence and hard work – we need people with humanity, who are mindful and aware, empathetic enough to tackle the ills we face ethically with the resilience and motivation to deal with the challenges, for the greater good of all.

I would like to thank and congratulate the learners and the teachers on achieving these splendid results. We are very proud of you all.


Yours sincerely

Alistair Dry
Executive Head