Rural maths mentor produces engineers, doctors
For the past 13 years, every single pupil who has been taught by mathematics teacher December Mpapane has passed, and many have become engineers and doctors
By Eric Lubisi
For the past 13 years, every single pupil who has been taught by mathematics teacher December Mpapane has passed, and many have become engineers and doctors.
It's no wonder Mr Mpapane has won the award for best maths teacher in the Mpumalanga education department's Ehlanzeni region every year since 1996, including this year.
Mr Mpapane teaches at Nkomazi High School in the poverty-stricken village of Mangweni near the Swaziland border in Mpumalanga.
"It's not about where one comes from or the lack off resources," he says.
"Through hard work, dedication and commitment, anyone can be an achiever."
For Mr Mpapane, every day of the week is a school day. He spends most of his time with his pupils, even on Sundays.
Last year, one of his matric pupils, Amanda Mdakane, achieved 99 percent for higher grade maths in her final exams.
Only one other pupil in the district achieved the same mark - Elizabeth Maartens of Hoerskool Sybrand van Niekerk in Sabie.
Ms Mdakane, who is 17, is now studying chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town with a bursary from oil company Sasol.
Matric results in the Ehlanzeni district went up 2 percent last year, from 66 percent in 2006 to 68 percent.
Ehlanzeni regional director Mfana Lushaba has praised the class of 2007 and urged more teachers to bring out the best in their pupils.
When presenting the matric results for 2007, Education minister Naledi Pandor said maths remained a challenge.
"Learners need maths and science to study further in engineering, science and technology. Traditional universities require a higher grade pass in these subjects,' she said.
Higher grade passes increased from 25 217 in 2006 to 25 415 in 2007 and in standard grade from 110 452 in 2006 in 123 813 in 2007.
There was a declined in the number of passes in higher grade science. Higher grade science pass numbers dropped 29 781 in 2006 to 28 122 in 2007.
The national matric pass rate dropped from 66.5 percent in 2006 to 65.2 percent in 2007.
Three Eastern Cape schools will receive a maths and science support plan
funded by the Nordex Education Trust - the empowerment arm of the German
wind turbine company Nordex.
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