South Africa: Let’s Get Behind the General Education Certificate – and Make It Work


Last week’s announcement of the field-testing of a General Education Certificate (GEC) at the end of Grade 9 caused a significant public uproar, but much of this outrage is disconnected from the realities of South Africa’s education system.

Currently, half of all children who start school make it to matric — the majority drop out in Grade 10 and 11 after repeating multiple grades. Grade 9 marks the end of compulsory schooling; if done right, formalising this point in a learner’s educational journey could be an important mechanism to improve outcomes for young people — and in the long run, improve the quality of the overall education system. Here are five opportunities the GEC could unlock, and what we need to do to make them work:

It would create a mechanism for proper assessment of Grade 9 learners’ core skills, giving them new signalling tools to the labour market.

According to a recent paper by education economist Professor Servaas van der Berg and colleagues, an estimated 300,000 young people leave the schooling system each year. These early school leavers mostly leave between Grade 10 and 12 — without any formal qualification to show for their many years in the education…

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Publish date : 2019-10-02 12:13:43

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