Education expert, and former Gauteng education MEC, Mary Metcalfe believes the proposed introduction of a school-leaving certificate in grade nine would open opportunities for pupils.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga yesterday told delegates t the national congress of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) that the process is are underway to formalise grade nine as a second exit point of schooling.
This would mean that pupils were able to complete the grade and get a general education certificate.
The minister said that the move was aimed reducing the rate of failure, repetition and drop-outs.
Metcalfe said that the initiative should be commended.
“What we have at the moment is as many as 50% of our young people who leave school before succeeding in matric.
“What a grade 9 certificate will mean is that they hold in their hand some form of certification then have a certificate which to enter the diverse range of schooling options that the Department of Basic Education is opening up,” said Metcalfe.
“The first cycle of systemic evaluations in grades 3, 6 and 9 will be finalised by June 2020. The field trial for the general education certificate at the end of Grade 9 is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020,” Motshekga said.
The minister added that 11 focus areas have been identified for the 2019 to 2024 medium-term strategic framework.
These include the decolonisation of basic education through the teaching and promotion of African languages, South African and African history and national symbols as well eliminating the digital divide by ensuring that within six years, all schools and education offices have access to internet and free data.