South Africa’s department of Basic Education plans to enable struggling students to complete their matric certificate over a two-year period.
A government gazette published on Friday, 3 June 2016 put forward, a proposal to allow those students who failed Grade 11 twice but were nevertheless allowed to move to Grade 12 to write the first half of their examination in December and the remainder the following June.
The proposal appeared in the newly gazetted draft amended policy on the conduct, administration and management of the senior certificate and the general public is encouraged to speak out their view on this in 21 days starting from the day its published.
The new programme if accepted, would be put into place for 2017 and only struggling pupils who attend school regularly, pass four subjects or more, and complete all their assessments will be allowed to split exam papers.
“We piloted it last year but there was no uniformity in terms of its application. The uptake was also very low because it was late in the year.
“Those that did opt for it wrote half the exam last year and the supplementary exam this year,” Basic Education spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said yesterday.
Speaking in a special interview with Talk 702, Mhlanga pointed out that out of approximately 701,000 students who wrote matric exams in 2015, 80,000 could have qualified for such an arrangement as outlined by the department.
“Writing matric over two years is odd. It does make sense that you need to create a means for children, as opposed to failing and never getting back to have a chance. But I am worried about the practicality.”
“We want everyone who enters the education system to leave with a matric certificate of good quality. He said that the current system shows that some learner are not coping because they are not gifted the same way. There needs to be support measure put into place to ensure that they pass,” Mhlanga said.
In September last year, the Council of Education Ministers said those who had not performed well in the June and September trial exams would be offered the option of focusing only on the subjects in which they were ready to write, and could deal with the remaining subjects this year.
It also agreed that if the modulated exam were to go ahead, pupils would have to meet certain criteria.
“We are now asking the public to tell us how they feel. We are trying to regulate this system. Without having criteria, all progressed learners will tell themselves that they can just relax and complete their matric over two years.
“If you look at the criteria, they force you to do your work. You will be given the opportunity to write over two years if you are not coping,” Mhlanga said.
According to him, the aim is to stagger the number of subjects that a student writes over a longer period of time. Passing students would still receive a single certificate once all subjects have been written up.
21 days has been given to the public to comment on this before final decision is taken