FRANCISTOWN: Setlalekgosi Junior Secondary School (JSS) emerged the best after scooping first position regionally and fourth nationally in the just released Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) results.
Setlakgosi JSS came out tops regionally with a pass rate of 72.8% followed by Thamani JSS with 64.5%, which also made it to top 10 countrywide.
In addition, Central region also dominated in the top 10 best performing schools nationally with Orapa JSS scooping the first position, followed by Selebi-Phikwe’s Meepong JSS, Makhubu and Phatsimo JSS at position two, seven and eight respectively.
Setlalekgosi JSS school head Babululi Bajiti told Mmegi that he was over the moon with the outcome of the results.
He said that Setlalekgosi JSS Form 3 results have improved as compared to the previous years.
Bajiti said that even though they did not meet their personal target of 80% they still remain undefeated in the northeast region.
He further said that the just released JCE results surpass the regional target of 65%.
He stated that their JCE results have improved over the past five years, which they attained 72.1%, 70%, 58.89%, 61.3%, and 65.4% for the years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 respectively.
Bajiti said that the quality pass rate for this group at Primary School Leaving Examination (PLSE) was 63.3% and now they have added value with 72.8% pass rate in their JCE results.
He further said that the improvement of their results came after they went to benchmark at Nanogang JSS, and the journey became fruitful as they managed to hammer Nanogang JSS, which is currently sitting at position six countrywide.
Bajiti stated that they continue to be the school of excellence because they have qualified teachers with degrees and diplomas who offer exceptional learning to the students.
He said that it is through the students, teachers and parents perseverance, teamwork and commitment to yield better results.
“Our students are so disciplined and focused on their academic work, which has contributed immensely to their school performance. We also have supportive parents who participate in their children up bringing through report collection and result analysis participation,” he said.
He added that Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and stakeholder involvement remains the backbone of their achievements.
Bajiti further said that PTA and relevant stakeholders are always ready to use their money to purchase materials needed for students’ academic work, especially on practical projects.
He said that there is a lot of teamwork between teachers as they often volunteer to monitor form three and two during Saturday and morning study on weekdays.
He said that one of the challenges they are facing is shortage of classroom, which makes three classes use labs as base rooms.
Bajiti added that the issue of lack of classrooms limit the number of students admitted in their school forcing some students in their catchment area to be enrolled in other schools.
He said that the expansion of the school could be a solution to shortage of classrooms.
He also raised the issue of lack of teachers’ accommodation leading to some of them sharing and renting outside the school premises.
Bajiti mentioned that the teacher to student ratio is the greatest problem with the average number of students in a classroom currently stands at 1:49.“If the teacher to student ratio is high, teachers won’t be able to give all the students attention and it will affect their academic performance. We also have a problem of vandalism, but we try our level best to bring such students to order,” he said.
He added that their Internet is not easily accessible, which makes it difficult to carry out researches, especially during a crucial time when they encountered shortage of books.
He said that in 2018 there was shortage of both textbooks and notebooks, but they are in the process of purchasing the books.
Bajiti said that even though they encounter many challenges they are continuing with their journey to remain the finest by learning from the best.
He indicated that this year they are going to benchmark from Orapa and Meepong JSS.
The school head for Orapa JSS Kolobetso Seabe expressed great gratitude towards teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and students for once again topping JCE final results in two consecutive years.
She said that in 2017 Orapa JSS took position one nationally with 77.1% pass rate and they remain unchallenged with 77.2% for the just released 2018 JCE results.
Seabe said that they managed to remain number one because of the determination, sacrifice and teamwork portrayed by students, teachers and parents towards achieving excellent results.
She futher said that there is a saying, which indicates that ‘the earliest bird catches the fattest worm’ that is why their school day starts strictly as early as 6:30am and ends after hours.
“During this period, students make use of their study groups and revise with their teachers. Even our cooks are very cooperative when we want to change tea break and lunch time. They are always willing to do so. We all know that the results affect us as a team not just as individuals,” she said.
Seabe added that there is a meeting scheduled for parents, teachers and students in which they come up with strategies to improve their education.
She said that another way of upgrading their results is through keeping the library open from as early as 6:30am until after hours so that students can carry out their researches.
She mentioned teacher-to-student ratio as one of the challenges they are currently facing.
Seabe said that the average teacher-student ratio is 1:44, which can sometimes affect the student performance.
The school head for Meepong JSS Dorcas Olebile said that they would continue to strive against all odds.
She said that her school is currently doing well even after the economic meltdown of Selebi Phikwe.She said that they have managed to remain in position two in a row with 75.8% and 73.9% for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively.
She said that their main focus is usually directed to Form Three.
“Form Three’s come to school on Saturday and learn in studying groups according to their abilities and previous term performance. We also try by all means to contain students against social ills,” he said.
Olebile said that they have an early session in which they conduct morning study through the help of teaching and non-teaching staff.
She said that they build their teamwork by bringing the relevant stakeholders together through hosting luncheon and dinners.
She said that one of the difficult situations they are facing is teacher to student ratio, which is currently at 1:39.
Olebile said by touching on the issues of student transfers, which does not affect them at the moment.She said that when students get transferred they are going to be replaced by new ones in a short period of time.
“Nine students have been transferred since the beginning of this term, but already we have five newcomers,” she said.