Opinion

Dept of Education are formulating a Grade 9 exit certificate

The Department of Basic Education minister, Angie Motshega revealed at the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU’s) elective conference in Johannesburg on Thursday that they are formalising on a general education certificate to allow Grade 9 pupils to exit schooling.

In a bid to reduce the failure rate, repetition and drop-outs the department are looking to implement a General Education Certificate (GEC) before the Grade 12 exit.

The certificate will be administered in the same way as the Grade 12 exams.

Basic education will be decolonised

The plan is to launch a high level national and provincial assessment system which will allow learners as young as 15 to exit the education system with a government-approved qualification.

The launch of the first systemic evaluations in grades 3, 6 and 9 are expected to be finalised by June 2020 and the field trial for the GEC for Grade 9 is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020.

Motshekga said they have identified 11 areas of focus for the 2019 to 2024 medium-term strategic framework which include the decolonisation of basic education and the promotion of African languages, the teaching of South African and African history and bridging the digital divide whereby ensuring that all schools and education offices have access to internet and free data within the next six years.

A new curriculum for a changing world

The department will focus the curriculum on skills and competencies for a changing world by introducing new subjects such as aviation studies, maritime, coding and robotics.

They also plan to introduce 10 skill-based focus schools which will offer these subjects as well as Hi-Tech studies, Arts, Maths and Science, BCM, Engineering, Hospitality & Tourism.

Where to from there?

The idea that students can leave school at 15 or at the end of Grade 9 sounds great to some, but where do they go from there? A Grade 9 certificate does not qualify them for employment.

The Universities are already filled to the maximum.

The idea to leave high school in Grade 9 or 10 is nothing new as learners who are not academic were always able to continue their studies at a Technicon to obtain a trade certificate.  The cost involved for lower income families, however, did not always allow for this.