KwaThintwa School for the Deaf, situated in the rolling hills of Inchanga, in KwaZulu-Natal’s Valley of 100 Hills, achieved astounding success in its 2019 matric results. The school’s commitment to equal access, being a self-reliant learning organisation that provides high quality education and training is evident in 100% matric pass rate that the school achieved in 2019 — a pass rate retained for the 9th consecutive year.
KwaThintwa was among the first schools to implement the South African Sign Language (SASL) as a home language in grade 12 in 2018, and was one of three schools to participate in the national examinations with SASL as a home language. It follows the CAPS curriculum with SASL as a home language and English as a First Additional Language, with SASL as a medium of instruction.
The school offers boarding facilities and accepts students from as young as three years old all the way to matric. Students at the school have two avenues that they can take when entering the FET Phase (grade 10 to grade 12): they can either follow an academic programme or a Prevocational Skills Programme. The Prevocational Skills Programme offers students life orientation, woodwork, creative arts, hairdressing, communication skills, functional mathematics and cookery. It enables students to pursue further skills training at institutions like the National Institute for the Deaf (NID) and eDeaf.
The academic programme enables students to finish matric and have the option to go to university or a university of technology; it offers the two language subjects (SASL and English), mathematical literacy, dramatic arts, visual art and life orientation.
2019’s matric pupils all achieved bachelor’s degree passes with distinctions in three or more subjects. Two of KwaThintwa’s matriculants placed in the top five achievers in SASL Home Language nationally; Thabile Mathumbu and Philile Shezi placed first and third respectively. At the beginning of February both students will begin their journey towards a teaching career at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. While they are excited by the study opportunity, they have expressed anxiety with regards to the variety of interpreters they will have for the modules they take, as well as the potential of a limited social experience.
The school offers an extensive range of extramural activities that equip its students with nationally competitive sporting skills. The students can compete nationally in swimming, golf, chess, volleyball, table tennis, men’s and lady’s soccer as well as athletics. Two of the school’s academic achievers, Sifiso Ndwebu and Thembelani Mweli, expressed their excitement at the prospect of heading off to a golf coaching training course with the South African Disabled Golf Association that will be taking place in Cape Town soon.
The students applaud the school’s ability to create an enabling environment for their knowledge acquisition, and expansion of their social experience; Shezi commented on how KwaThintwa has boosted her confidence and urged other students to achieve their full potential. Dux scholar Thabile Mathumbu’s advice to her peers is to heed the advice of their teachers so that they can go far. The sports champions of KwaThintwa’s 2019 matric class said their courage, confidence and focus was boosted.
The school’s staff is doing their best to create an enabling environment for deaf students, so they can reach their full potential and lead full lives. The commitment of the staff to seeing their students prosper is evident in the joy of the pupils as well as in the performance of the matriculants. The school supports children from primarily rural backgrounds or who have single parents, which can present challenges for the school’s financial department. The school’s fees (including boarding, meals and education) are approximately R12 000; its deaf children benefit from quality education and a great support system.
The students of KwaThintwa School for the Deaf demonstrate how every deaf child can live their best life.
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