The sluggish pace of learning and teaching at Limpopo's Senwane Secondary School, which achieved a 0% pass rate in the 2018 matric exams, has been given as the reason for the school's performance.
The school, situated in the remote village of Ga-Molekwa in the Bakenberg area, enrolled 12 candidates for the exams and all of them failed.
It is one of the three schools in the province that had a 0% pass rate in 2018. The others are Letshekga-Malokwane and Ramoroke secondary schools, which enrolled 12 and two candidates respectively.
News24 visited the area on Tuesday and spoke to some candidates who pointed to the absence of a culture of learning and teaching at the school as the reason for the dismal performance. These sentiments were also echoed by some parents.
The principal, Max Mongatana, was reluctant to speak about the results. He has been acting in the position since the beginning of 2018.
Kholofelo Matlou, 20, who has since registered to repeat matric at the same school, said: "I believe the problem was teaching and learning. We did not receive enough lessons for the whole year, especially on mathematics and physical science.
"Sometimes we were left on our own because the teachers did not come to class often. I think some of the teachers should be changed and I hope this year we will do better because this is the first time this thing happened."
Another candidate, Francinah Matlou, 19, pointed out that the pupils themselves should also share the blame because they did not show enough enthusiasm. She has also registered to repeat matric at the same school.
Small schools 'unsustainable'
"I think we were also playful and did not take our schoolwork seriously. This (0% pass rate) is a lesson and we will have to study more," Matlou said.
During the visit, staff members were on the premises and pupils were coming in drips and drabs to collect textbooks as they prepare to start the academic year on Wednesday.
But Limpopo education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe blamed the 0% pass rate on the non-viability of "small" schools. He believes merging such schools is the solution.
"We have been saying that small schools are not viable and not sustainable educationally. Efforts of the department to rationalise these schools are often met with resistance and reasons which do not advance education and the interest of learners who are at these schools.
"We cannot continue to supply six teachers for only two learners," Kgetjepe said.
He also pointed a finger at the historical pattern of the construction of schools.
He said some people did not like it when people speak about the reality that, despite becoming a democratic nation, government had not planned to build schools in certain areas, leaving communities to do it themselves.
DA provincial leader Jacques Smalle was also set to visit the school late on Tuesday.