Thabong school recognised at Free State district education awards

Principal of Nanabolela Secondary goes above and beyond to ensure learners’ success

Nanabolela Secondary’s Class of 2022 was recognised for their outstanding matric results by the Free State Department of Education in February.

Sibi Mokhothu, Principal of Nanabolela Secondary, is currently a participant on the Partners for Possibility leadership development programme powered by Citizen Leader Lab. Mokhothu is partnered with the Managing Director of Thabong Bakery, Annah Lelimo. The award-winning 12-month programme pairs principals from schools in under-resourced communities with business leaders from the corporate sector. Principals receive the support and skills to lead change and mobilise communities around their schools.

At an annually held ceremony known as a Well Done Function, Nanabolela Secondary was recognised for achieving a 99.18% pass rate in the 2022 Senior Certificate Examination in the Lejweleputswa District. Among the function’s attendees was the late Free State MEC for education, Tate Makgoe.

Mokhothu accepted the award on behalf of the school. Speaking to Citizen Leader Lab, the principal said: ‘’From 2018 to 2021 we have maintained a pass rate of over 90%. We were so close to [achieving] a 100% this time.’’

Nanabolelo is classified as a Quintile 2, no-fee school in the township of Thabong, Welkom and provides an education to 1,300 learners.

Achieving consistently high matric pass rates has been no easy feat. Mokhothu said that his school’s most pressing challenge is keeping his learners safe from danger and neglect.

‘’We have a high number of child-headed households and a high level of parental neglect. Many of our learners live in dangerous informal settlements, without access to basic services like water and electricity. We take these learners in, allowing them to sleep at the school, so that they are at least able to study. But this has financial implications. We have to use money budgeted for other activities just to keep our learners safe,’’ Mokhothu explained.

‘’Infrastructure wise, we really like to build a hall at the school so that the learners can write their exams. We would also love to hold assembly meetings without having to battle the wind, rain and cold,’’ he added.

Undeterred, Nanabolela Secondary continues to cement itself as the heart of its community under Mokhuthu’s leadership. The principal says that the Partner for Possibility programme is helping him to do this by ‘’refining his management skills’’ and ‘’inspiring him to broaden his reading on and understanding of leadership’’.

*LPF: An accredited coach who facilitates and guides partnerships on the Partners for Possibility programme

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