“You are the future of South Africa,” Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told learners at the Phehellang Secondary School in Parys, Free State on the first day of the 2017 school year.
The school is one of the best performing in the country, having achieved a 100% matric pass rate in the last two years.
Deputy President Ramaphosa congratulated the principal, teachers, parents and learners of Phehellang Secondary for achieving consistently outstanding results.
The school is located in the Free State, which attained a 93.2% matric pass rate in the 2016 academic year, the highest in the country.
The Deputy President commended Free State Premier Ace Magashule and MEC for Education Tate Makgoe on the excellent performance of the province in the face of significant challenges.
He said Phehellang Secondary had proven to the nation that they could do what many considered impossible.
Deputy President Ramaphosa urged the learners to work hard and believe in themselves.
“Education is the one thing that improves your lives and your family. It is the one thing that can give you a better life, a better career and a better future,” he said.
He urged learners to develop the habit of reading.
“Make books your friends. By reading you will always find new knowledge,” he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said progress in education was only possible through effective collaboration between all stakeholders.
Phehellang is one of over 200 schools in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts in the Free State that are part of the Kagiso Shanduka Trust programme, a partnership between the private sector and the Free State Department of Education to improve schools mainly in townships and rural areas.
Phehellang has benefited from this programme through curriculum support, leadership development and ongoing infrastructure provision in the form of a library, a life sciences building and ablution facilities.
Deputy President Ramaphosa said the school’s teachers were going the extra mile to achieve good results.
“Your teachers are doing phenomenal work,” he said.
He said Government is dedicating a lot of resources and effort to improve access to quality education.
“The entire government of the Republic of South Africa is working to ensure you have a great future,” he told learners.