The Deutsche Internationale Schule Pretoria (DSP) matric class of 2021 has achieved exceptional results with 102 distinctions, 126 B-symbols and 102 C-symbols, of which 95% of these learners have passed with admission to study for a Bachelor’s degree.
The class of 2021 consisted of 55 learners and despite the pandemic and its challenges, the transition from grade 11 to matric had enabled teachers and pupils to pull out all the stops to ensure exceptional matric results. Moreover, 13 of these learners have completed the German International Abitur with an excellent average score of 2.24.
The German International Abitur is an internationally acclaimed university preparatory curriculum and diploma that provides an academically exceptional and culturally rich multilingual education to students of all nationalities and backgrounds.
The DSP, founded on the German education model of teaching, emphasises developing independence in children, encourages critical thinking, supports children taking ownership for their learning process and stresses the development of creative problem solving skills.
The school’s newly appointed principal, Manuel Haß from Germany, says South Africa is an incredibly abundant, wonderful country. Its potential is the people and the diversity, the interaction with each other. This also applies to the school. The school is beautiful and lively, it has high potential while cultural diversity is alive and well with pupils from different backgrounds having the chance to get an excellent qualification. This enables them to start a successful professional life. The school has a firm place in the South African educational landscape.
“After the long phase of Covid-19, it is time for a new beginning. This includes modern teaching that can once again be fully social and in face-to-face collaborative forms. This includes learning from the phases of distance teaching digitally and then modernising. It is important to strengthen cohesion. We will review learning content and strengthen linguistic competences of multilingualism, which will have the effect of raising the profile of German, as a mother tongue and as a foreign language at the highest level.”
“The aim is to ensure that graduates of the Deutsche Internationale Schule Pretoria have all avenues of education and training open to them. The direct review and restructuring of the school’s organisation also serves as a means to this end.”
The DSP is proud of its matric class of 2021 and more especially of its top achievers, Nina Ehrich, Silke Ottermann and Juliette van der Walt – all three achieving eight distinctions, and Lizé Pretorius with seven distinctions.
For Nina Ehrich, her school career at the DSP was already thought of before she was born. Her father has been teaching at the school for over 30 years and Nina attended the school since the age of 2. Reflecting on her matric year, Ehrich admits it was a difficult year.
“It was difficult trying to find the time to study, do schoolwork and keep up with assignments. Luckily, we have had times like these in the previous years and by now I know how to handle the stress it brings with it and not fall behind. It was difficult to stay motivated and not give up completely. That is where time management came in very handy.
“I made to-do lists with everything that had to be done and its due dates. This helped me a lot, since it gave me a clearer perspective of the work that needed to be done and its timeframe. I believe that all that planning, having a routine and, most importantly, playing sports helped me get better results and stay focused.”
Fascinated by human anatomy and determined to learn more about it, Ehrich wants to pursue chiropractic.
“This fascination came from my love for sports, which the DSP has encouraged me to practice. Now I am happy to say that I will be studying to become a chiropractor from this year on. I am excited to see what my future has in store for me. I am aware that it will be difficult and challenging at times, but I believe DSP has taught me a lot over the years with which I will be able to face these challenges and fi nd a way to overcome them. I am ready to see what life outside of school is like. I feel that the DSP has helped me a lot and has prepared me well for the future.”
Another top achiever for 2021, Silke Ottermann says she is ready to face the oncoming challenges that university and life will present, and is eager to learn more about life itself.
“I was able to grow in school, in terms of knowledge and inner growth. The school gave me a foundation that I am now ready to build on. The DSP represents a safe environment where making mistakes is acceptable and learning is possible. For me, the DSP gave me the ability to think further, problem-solving skills and question what is given to me. The teachers pushed us to work harder and better, not only to improve our academic state, but to be able to do better in life and in what the future may hold. One could also always come and seek out support when it was needed.”
Ottermann says the pandemic had slightly helped with not having much outside activities and had allowed her to focus more on her studies.
“I believe with time management, Covid-19 had helped with the fact that I did not have that much outside activities anymore, in terms of sport and social. I had more time to study, which I tried to use efficiently.
“One of the challenges was, of course, online learning in the beginning of my final year and the general workload. Time management became vital. The school helped me and I could always go to my teachers when I had questions and concerns. This helped me especially during online learning, where one is mostly alone.”
Juliette van der Walt had spent most of her life in school and the last few years working assiduously. She says the years 2020 and 2021 were challenging, but enabled her to study independently and boosted her with courage to face the challenges of university education and life in general.
“The teachers at the DSP put emphasis on studying independently, critical thinking and problem solving. This was evident in many of the teaching methods. This meant that the learning environment could often be challenging, however, the teachers were always there to guide you in the right direction. Even when we were mostly working from Microsoft teams, most teachers were available until late to answer any questions that one had.”
Van der Walt aspires to be a neuropsychologist and will be studying psychology.
“This is a very science intensive course, so my science teachers played a big role in my realisation of this dream. They noticed and cultivated my love for science. I was always told that I had potential and could do well, which motivated me to do my best in my subjects.
“I am excited for what the future holds and which is a reason why I feel so ready for the next phase of my life.”
Lizé Pretorius had shown interest in Information Technology, but it was not part of her curriculum. She took it as an extra subject and obtained a distinction in the subject, despite never attending any classes. However, three days before her final written German exam, Lizé Pretorius had tested positive for Covid-19.
“My teachers organised with the school’s corresponding team in Germany that I could write the exam at home, under strict conditions and supervision. That’s an example of their helpfulness during these unpredictable and difficult conditions. Regarding how I achieved my scores, I give credit to the DSP for my determination and commitment. I thank my teachers who provided study and revision material so that I was able to practice and study efficiently with exam questions in mind.”
Pretorius enrolled at the DSP in the eighth grade, when she moved back to South Africa after living in Vienna, Austria. Her intention of going to the German school was to seize the chance of going back overseas for her tertiary education. She plans to pursue a career in renewable energies development and is grateful for the opportunity of job shadowing, which gave her insight into her career choices and dreams.
“The lessons of independence, which I have learnt at the DSP, will undoubtedly assist in my endeavours into university and work life.”
The Deutsche Internationale Schule Pretoria (DSP), which offers tuition from 3 months to Grade 12 is independently rated as an international school of excellence. Young minds are prepared for a global future from an early age. Learners in the higher grades are continuously exposed to the challenges of tertiary education and the future. Teaching is guided by German as well as South African syllabi and prepares learners for the different school-leaving certificates that can be obtained at the DSP.
Ms Kapfhammer, who coordinates the combined South African and German qualification at the DSP explains: “Teaching in Secondary School II (Grades 10 to 12) is characterised by small classes that allow intensive debate on content and scientific methods, top results in all examinations and two school-leaving certificates after 12 years.”
A dual school-leaving certificate is comprised of: - The German International Abitur and the National Senior Certificate (NSC) from the Independent Examination Board (IEB), called the Kombi-Abitur or; - The NSC from the IEB together with the German Language Diploma Level 2.
“Our flexible approach through either the Kombi-Abitur or the NSC in conjunction with the German Language Diploma allows entrance to local universities and opens the door to study internationally. Our learners are educated to be critical thinkers that are able to adapt to new situations.” concludes Mrs Bischofberger who co-ordinates the NSC at the DSP.