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Kopanang school making history in South Africa

Kopanang Secondary School was on the brink of failure in 2011. Four years later, it’s set to deliver a 100% pass rate. Here, we reflect on the partnership that made this possible. 

In 2011, there didn't seem to be a future for Kopanang Secondary School in eMalahleni, South Africa. With a pass rate of only 13%, it was classified as a 'dysfunctional' school by the Department of Education. Now, four years later, the school is on the verge of delivering a 100% pass rate.

The association between Anglo American and Kopanang began four years ago, when former principal Richard Usinga approached Landau Colliery for assistance. Despite the immense organisational challenges facing the school, he impressed management with his vision of turning the institution around. The two parties agreed that the school would work closely with Landau Colliery management as well as some employee volunteers.

Together, the school and mine built a diverse programme, involving management mentoring for school staff, student leadership development initiatives, the upgrading of educational material, and a study camp.

The early signs were positive. In the first year of the partnership, the pass rate rose more than doubled, rising to 42% in 2012. Then, in 2013, it more than doubled again, reaching 83%. And last year, this figure climbed to 90.7%

Historic success

Now, in 2015, it appears that the school is set for a landmark achievement. Earlier this month, Usinga announced that the school was on the verge of what had previously been unimaginable: a 100% pass rate, for the first time in its history.

If hard work is the recipe for success at Kopanang, the ‘Matric Camp’ is one of its key ingredients. The intensive three-week study programme has Grade 12s camp on the school grounds, ahead of their final examinations. The camp focuses students’ time and energy on revising for the exams, keeping them away from distractions at home and in the community.

“Against all odds, a school from an eMalahleni township has the opportunity to deliver a 100% matric pass rate,” said Usinga, at the launch of the 2015 Matric Camp on October 12.

We wish this year’s class the best of luck, and are proud of what they’ve been able to achieve.

Discover more about our work in local communities.

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