Grade 12’s are entering the final exam phase of their school careers. This time of year is marked with high levels of stress, suicide and general feelings of hopelessness in case a learner fails his/her Matric exams.
Several case studies at the Growth Institute show that failing a Matric exam is not the end of the road. We believe that far too much emphasis is placed on Matric. In fact, Matric learners are so stressed about the exams that their marks could drop by as much as 30% compared to what they have achieved in Grade 11.
It is not unlikely that a person who, got an average of 60% in his/her Grade 11 subjects, suddenly ends up with an average of as low as 30%.
The State’s default answer to those who failed Matric is that they have to enrol at a TVET college. What is not said, is that those who failed Matric and who decide to go to a TVET college, have to start a program that is two levels lower than the Grade 12 level. Thus, a person has to redo Grade 10 before he/she could progress to the next TVET level.
In a previous article, we indicated that the success rate at TVET colleges is not even 10%. Thus, TVET colleges may not be a suitable answer.
Even when a person passed Grade 12 with very good marks, there are cases where the subject combinations that they took in school are not relevant to the minimum admission requirements at the majority of tertiary institutions outside the TVET framework.
The fact is that not all tertiary programs require that a candidate must have a Grade 12. Coupled to this fact, is the misinformed myth that all programs who admit persons with Grade 11, are inferior.
Critics forget that many programs offered at private colleges are assessed by independent external examining bodies. This means that the person who starts a first-year program at some private colleges, is exposed a series of professional exams that are focused on very specific skill sets that are relevant to the workplace.
It is a great social injustice to deny somebody access to a tertiary qualification simply because he/she did not pass Grade 12 but got very good marks in Grade 11. There is indeed a solution for candidates in this group. They could get access to a program that is on the same level as Grade 12 (NQF 3) and that allows them to progress towards a National Diploma (NQF 6) recognised by a host of professional bodies.
The fact that such programs are focused on workplace-based skills means that a person who completed such a program could be in a position where:
- The skills learnt is relevant to the workplace and needed by the workplace
- The skills learnt provide access to professional bodies that allow a person to practice as:
- Financial accountants
- Office managers
- And other related professions of functions
Our advice to anyone who did not pass Grade 12, is to consider that there are options other than being forced into a TVET stream or being forced to face a life of unemployability because there is no perceived access to a tertiary academic program.