Prince Sunduzani, Chronicle Reporter
Mtshabezi High School needs no introduction in education circles as it represents excellence in academics.
The school’s achievements are beyond measure. Year in year out; it continues to assert its position as one of the best in the country by attaining the best results and churning out the best pupils.
With an enrolment of over 900 pupils, mainly boarders, the Brethren In Christ Church run school has proven beyond doubt that it is results oriented and has the ability to deliver.
In a recent interview with the Chronicle, Mtshabezi High School headmaster Mr Morgan Moyo said although the school is highly acclaimed, efforts were being made to improve it.
He said the school had made significant strides towards becoming and staying one of the best, but not to take his word for it, a look at the results says it all.
Every year, Mtshabezi High School registers its pupils for a maximum of six O-Level subjects in June and the number seems to be unfair to pupils who would want to write more as they have been equipped to achieve more at the school.
Already, there are 74 O-Level pupils with full certificates that is five O-Level passes and above.
Ten pupils attained six As and above in this year’s June public examination session.
“I’m very happy with the results. This demonstrates hard work and commitment from both the pupils and the teachers. We only allow them to write six subjects otherwise I’m confident that if allowed they could have attained even more,” said Mr Moyo.
“In English Language we have 18 As, nine in History, in Religious Studies we have 37, two in Literature in English, 77 As in Geography, 38 in Mathematics, 30 in Principles of Accounts, 41 in Integrated Science, one in Biology and six in Economics”.
The A-Level June exams were not an exception as the school excelled at that level as well. The headmaster said 94 pupils registered for the exams and they all passed.
“The overall pass rate is 100 percent. In the Arts department, we have four pupils with 10 points from two subjects, and three with nine points from two subjects. In the Commercials department, we have three students with 11 points and two with 10 points,” said Mr Moyo.
The institution has become a sciences powerhouse in the country as it continues to produce good results in science subjects at a time when government has put emphasis on the adoption of STEM subjects, saying they have the potential to turn around the country’s fortunes.
In the June public examinations, one of the A-Level pupils attained a whopping 16 points, another 12 points, one 11 points and three others 10 points.
“At A-Level, up to 70 percent of our pupils takes up sciences. If you look at the results, you will see what I’m talking about. Our pupils continue to shine in science subjects and we’re always the best,” said Mr Moyo.
The school recorded a 100 percent pass rate in the 2016 November examinations.
The 2016 O-Level pass rate was also impressive with the best performing pupil attaining 13 As.
The school has since adopted the new curriculum which measures academia and practical work.
However, Mr Moyo prefers to call it an updated curriculum as the school had already started incorporating learning methodologies prescribed by the new curriculum before it came to be.
Mtshabezi only had a few things to change in order to align itself with the new curriculum.
“I don’t subscribe to the view that it’s new, I’d rather call it updated because for us, quite a sizable number of things that are ‘new’ about the curriculum have been there. You talk of sciences, as it is we’re one school in Matabeleland South province that has been pioneering the teaching of sciences. We have Physics, Chemistry and Biology as standalone subjects. At A-Level, up to 70 percent of our pupils take up sciences and our results indicate what I’m talking about,” said Mr Moyo.
“When it comes to technical vocational subjects, we already had Food and Nutrition; we had Fashion and Fabrics, Bakery Studies, Building Studies, Computer Operations and Packages. We already had our pupils bringing in iPods and tablets. We’ve since extended our library to house double the number to 120 pupils. We want to put up an interactive board so that teachers can come in and demonstrate. In all our labs, we’ve put up white boards so that our teachers can be able to use technologies such as projectors.”
Mtshabezi High School has done a lot to promote the use of information communication technologies (ICTs).
Mr Moyo said the school had long embraced ICTs and was procuring materials to continue supporting that department.
“We bought laptops and projectors for all our departments and our A-level pupils are allowed to bring their own tablets. Our vision is for every pupil to have a tablet and be able to use ICTs even outside class,” he said.
Not only does the school excel in academics but it also outshines other schools in the province and the country at large in extra-curricular activities.
Mr Moyo spoke highly of pupils who excelled in different competitions for various disciplines in and out of Zimbabwe.
“The Public Speaking juniors represented the province at the nationals and came first. These are juniors we’re talking about which means we could be at the top for a very long time. Bongani Ncube was the best speaker at the national competitions. The quiz team won the national competitions in the Orate Quiz and represented Zimbabwe in Kenya,” he said
“We were also the provincial choir champions in 2016 and this year the choir has already qualified for the national competitions to be held in Manicaland province. In steam fairs exhibitions, we’ve been perennial achievers and this year we have five teams that have qualified for the provincial competitions.”
The Brethren In Christ Church has an inclusive approach to education and has a department for visually impaired pupils being led by a visually impaired teacher. Mr Moyo said many people could not understand this but to him everyone should be included in education.
“Our Education is inclusive. Not only do we have able bodied pupils, we also have a unit for visually handicapped pupils. We feel everybody has to be catered for; even among our members of staff, we have a visually handicapped teacher, something you won’t find in many schools because people can’t conceptualise how a school can have such a staff member.”
Taking a random look at the school’s infrastructure, one would think the school has enough.
A tour of the school leaves one satisfied as the school is fully developed and has key infrastructure in place.
Mtshabezi High School has well-built and well-maintained structures. However, this has not stopped the school from continuing with development and adding to their pool as the school continues to improve and add to what they already have.
“We completed construction of a state of the art staff cottage for our teachers. We’ve also bought a five tonne truck, a 16 seater Quantum and we’re almost done with the construction of our multipurpose pavilion. We bought laptops, printers and projectors for our teachers. We’ve tiled our dining rooms, our laboratories and toilets. We recently bought new furniture just to supplement the furniture we already have,” said Mr Moyo.
As if that was not enough, the school has achieved over three quarters of its development goals set in 2013.
“I think we’re really on course in terms of completing our five-year action plan. I’m not worried at all,” said the headmaster.
There is indeed a secret to producing great results and according to Mr Moyo, that secret is hard work, commitment and dedication.
The headmaster interacts with every pupil on a personal level and sets targets which the pupil promises to achieve and the headmaster helps to pursue, a culture not common in many schools.
“I take time to sit down with the pupils at Lower Six and Form Three and they tell me what they want to achieve and how they’ll achieve it. I then follow up to see whether they’re doing what they promised and how best I can assist them as individuals.”
Mr Moyo and his committed, disciplined and purposeful 48-member team have over the years continued to guide pupils in achieving record breaking results.
Despite facing a number of policy challenges like non-replacement of teachers, Mr Moyo said the school would still progress as they had put in place measures to overcome such challenges.
He urged parents to meet their children’s school fees obligations on time in order for the school to progress. — @PrinceNkosi102.