After some South African’s were left in shock following the announcement of the introduction of the General Education Certificate (GEC) for students who have successfully completed grade nine, clarity has been provided – to the relief of many. It has now been explained that the GEC would not make provision for young students to leave the education system but rather to better equip them to find careers that suit their inclinations and abilities.
Addressing the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) in Nasrec, Johannesburg, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced “the field trial for the GEC at the end of Grade 9 is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020. A draft framework for the GEC has been developed and assessment and examination modalities for the GEC are being investigated and have been presented at the HEDCOM meeting. The technical occupational subjects have been packaged and submitted to Umalusi for approval.”
SADTU’s provincial chairperson, Jonovan Rustin says that the new system is trying to address the “gap” that leaves some students needlessly struggling and stranded in academic environments unsuited to them. Students are not being encouraged to leave the education system but to further their education in a more specialised and individually suitable way.
“A discussion document was circulated in 2015, looking at how to reorganise education into a three-stream model. This model says that once you complete grade nine, you receive a General Education Certificate…
That doesn’t mean the learner must exit at grade nine – it means that the learner can choose either to go into a FET academic route, a FET technical route or a vocational education route… learners choose which academic route they will follow because not all learners are purely academically inclined – some are technically inclined and some are vocationally inclined.”
Rustin encourages parents and guardians to provide career guidance to their children and to plot education pathways with students.
“Speak to teachers at school, get some advice from professionals, take kids to career expos…let them job shadow and understand what they’d like to do when they complete schooling. Grade nine is not the end of the learning process,” he said.
“You continue your schooling life but decide what pathway to take.”