Top performing schools in the rural areas of Limpopo are facing increasing demand from parents who want to secure places for their children.
Marumo Mashifane, the principal of Moroke Secondary School in Phokwane, Nebo, had to turn down scores of applications from parents - some from outside the area - who wanted to enrol their children at the school.
The school's matriculants have consistently achieved high marks and in 2018 the Moroke got a 98.7% pass rate with three candidates obtaining 300/300 marks in physical science.
Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha paid the school a visit on the first day of the school year on Wednesday.
The reason behind the visit was to determine the "recipe" for its success so that it could be duplicated in other schools in the province that are lagging behind.
Mashifane told News24 that the school's management had come under pressure from parents in the community and surrounding areas wanting to enrol their children. However, a shortage of classrooms remains one of the challenges the Moroke Secondary School faces.
"Overcrowding is one of the challenges. The parents in the whole community want to bring their children here. They are fighting with us to say, 'Why don't you take our children?' but unfortunately we cannot take everybody.
"That's why I appealed to the premier [Mathabatha] to assist us - even if it's just one block of classrooms so that we don't fight with the community," Mashifane said.
Teacher appointments a concern
Speaking about what makes the school work while others in the area seem to be struggling, Mashifane said: "Firstly, it is to get the culture [of the school] right. The moment you start to say as teachers and community that 'we want to improve our learners', definitely we will do so.
"What is also important is for the principal and teachers to get back to the system and say: 'What are the things that we are not doing right and what is it that we can do?' We have to plan and commit ourselves. In that way, the results are guaranteed."
He also touched on his concerns about the appointment of teachers, noting that the teacher responsible for a 100% matric pass rate in physical science is employed on temporary basis.
This, he said, may demotivate the teacher as: "He is not sure whether he will be told at any given stage to pack and go, and look for another job."
Other top performing schools in the province's rural areas such as Mbilwi, Dendron, Thengwe and Tshivhase have also reported a high volume of applications for admission.
Addressing the pupils at Moroke Secondary School, Mathabatha described the principal, teachers and pupils as "a team of achievers".
"When the principal was briefing us earlier on, he said they were disappointed that they did not get 100%.
"They may be crying about the 1.3%, but other schools got a 0% [pass rate]," Mathabatha said.
Three schools in Limpopo got a 0% pass rate. They are Senwane, Letshega-Malokwane and Ramoroke high schools.