Skills development to support those who missed out on Matric

By sylviahammond, 23 January, 2024

Last week was dominated by the Matric results – officially, the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination results. President Ramaphosa’s newsletter today (22 January 2023) described the 82.9% pass rate as a “stellar achievement”, and the Department of Basic Education is proud of the progress that has been made - the pass rate has risen from 78% ten years ago.

See ,

for the IEB results

and for homeschoolers,the%20curriculum%20provider's%20examination%20centre.

However, the pass rate announced by Minister of Basic Education Motshekga reflects the achievement of those who managed to stay within the system; many have dropped out along the way for a range of reasons, and not everyone who sat the exam has achieved the certificate.

The successful candidates will likely move on to university or TVET studies, funded by bursaries, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), or private funding. 

But what about those who did not pass? They may have worked hard with their eye on a particular career, which will not now materialise. How do they react, and what support do they need?

Media reports indicate that there is a rise in the number of fake qualification certificates. Students who have dropped out along the way, and those who have not passed, both need our support and the support of family and friends in order to avoid that trap. Once a young person is found out trying to pass off a fake certificate, they have seriously compromised their entire future – the person is: “guilty of an offence” and liable for a fine, or a fine and imprisonment of up to five years”. Click on the Reading Room to access a copy of the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 12 of 2019, especially section 32B (1) (c), (3) and (6).

A suggested conversation in the face of disappointment

Your next actions depend on a number of personal factors, such as: how close were you to passing, did you have a particular career path in mind, and what are your family circumstances? The first option is to rewrite the subjects with poor results. In fact, that is also an option for anyone who may have passed, but wants - or needs - to improve their grade for a particular next step. 

See the Careers Portal link above for more information on a rewrite.

Family circumstances come into play here – is your family expecting you to find work to support the family, including younger members? Then looking for work is an option. Clearly, this is not an easy choice given the general unemployment rate of 39.1%, and 62.1% for young people between 15 – 24 years of age. 

For full details of unemployment rates 

see Statistics South Africa (StatsSA),youth%20to%206%2C0%20million

But, with the right attitude, finding work may be possible. 

Some suggested positive actions are to: review your best subject results and make a note of the percentages. Think about what you personally enjoy, then consider what work and what sectors may be suitable. For example, do you find it easy to talk to strangers, and enjoy interacting? Think about where you could use those qualities in retail or hospitality, or in the medical world. Do you have a good telephone voice? Would some form of online call centre be an option? 

Be prepared to work – and to learn. 

Don’t just look at your school results. Are you a church member, and have you been involved in youth groups? Is there a possibility that you could find work with a Non-profit organisation working in the community? If you enjoy working outdoors, does your local municipality have an Expanded Public Working Programme (EPWP), where you could achieve a small wage doing community work, such as cleaning of pavements, roads, and public parks?

Remember that not passing your exam – or having to drop out of school early – provides you with an opportunity to develop resilience, a learning experience on how you will respond to life’s challenges when things don’t go as planned – and to develop an attitude focused on learning new skills.

How can skills development practitioners provide support?

The recruitment of young people who have not managed to complete their Matric enables them to continue their studies and achieve their Grade 12 qualification, and thereafter to continue further with Occupational Qualifications. The employer benefits by being able to include the young person’s studies in their Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Report, and PIVOTAL Plan and PIVOTAL report. A well-managed workplace provides a learning environment for young people, and all the necessary support to enable them to learn, achieve qualifications, and thrive.

Skills development when well implemented in the workplace, supports the school to work transition for those who have not completed their school qualifications.   


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