The top achievers of the class of 2021 have been lauded by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga for their success. During her annual breakfast with the top learners, the minister said that the 33 learners who were being honoured were in a class of their own, after two years of studying under the state of disaster because of the measures put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You, the top learners of the class of 2021, are indeed the epitome [of the adage] that success comes at a price. You have shown through action, not an omission, that success is indeed a habit worth emulating,” Motshekga said.
Motshekga described the cohort as ambassadors for the public education system, which, she said, was “often under siege from free-market fundamentalists”.
The learners deserved to be acknowledged for their achievements, Motshekga said.
The minister added that: “We truly celebrate the gallant efforts of a select few among us who tower above all the rest. These top learners’ awards provide us with a rare opportunity to shout [from] the rooftops about sustained excellence in our basic education system, focusing on the crème de la crème of the system.”
This year’s matric results publication was marred by controversy, after the department announced that the results would not be published on media platforms. This resulted in the high court in Pretoria ordering that the basic education department have the results published, after an urgent application was lodged by lobby group AfriForum.
Just a few hours before the results were published (after the Mail & Guardian went to press), the South African Democratic Teachers Union was insisting that the department should have a policy in place to protect matric learners from having their results published.
Media officer for the union, Nomusa Cembi, told the M&G that the department should continue to take up this fight.
“We are saying that, in future, these results should not be published and the minister still has recourse through the National Education Policy Act to make a policy that should not be published.”
“I think when they said the results would not be published, they did not use that policy, so we are saying the department should continue to lead and use their powers,” Cembi added.