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St Charles’ top Cambridge results spotlight Pietermaritzburg
05 Aug 2008
Sphumelele Mngoma

St Charles College recently put Pietermaritzburg on the world map after scooping several “Brilliance in the World Awards” offered by the University of Cambridge for its students’ outstanding performance in the Cambridge International Examinations.

The college became the first school in South Africa to offer its pupils the renowned University of Cambridge international A-levels, and the programme has gained popularity, resulting in many private schools following suit.

In an interview with The Witness last year, headmaster Ronnie Kuhn said the decision to adopt the Cambridge curriculum was to ensure that the South African economy will benefit from internationally-led education.

He added that the aim was not to enable the school’s graduates to leave South Africa to work elsewhere, but rather about ensuring that the country’s human resources have a stronger hold on the science that ultimately contributes to the economy.

St Charles old boy Marc Smit was named top mathematics candidate for the programme in South Africa for 2007.

Smit achieved five distinctions in the Cambridge International Examinations and seven distinctions for his IEB in 2007, which is an assessment agency independent from state and provincial examination boards.

Speaking to The Witness, Smit said he found the Cambridge examination more challenging than the IEB.

“I’m very proud of my achievements, but it took a lot of self-discipline and hard work,” he said.
Smit is studying medicine at the University of the Free State, which he calls “a different environment”.

St Charles grade 12 pupil Gideon de Jager was awarded second place for his results in Afrikaans last year.

Dean Riley, St Charles marketing head, said the system is the largest international education system in the world, offered in 150 countries.

“Our reasons for introducing the International Cambridge qualifications are numerous.”
“However, the main driving factor was to be able to offer an internationally accepted curriculum in which our boys would be internationally benchmarked,” Riliey added.

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