Unions agree with Grade 9 certificate but want answers from Education Minister
While Motshegka’s office has described media reports that Grade 9 would be one of the exit points of schooling as misleading, saying the aim was to have more pupils taking the technical college route, unions felt that the idea would, in principle, address the high school drop-out rate.
Social media has been buzzing with comments from people who criticised Motshekga’s announcement.
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza argued that what Motshekga said at their elective conference in Nasrec last week was misinterpreted.
“Basically, the department is looking at allowing pupils to make proper choices after Grade 9.
“This is because we all know that in South Africa there are academic universities, vocational colleges and universities of technology.
“Some of the career choices do not need one to study up to matric level.
“Using the intended certificate, pupils are able to take the relevant route in their schooling and training. We are saying that the department should conduct thorough research into this,” said Caluza.
Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the plan aimed at sending more pupils to technical education as part of the General Education Certificate (GEC) at the end of Grade 9 was scheduled for completion in 2020.
He said the GEC was based on the three-stream model, which has the technical pathway, academic pathway and the occupational pathway.
Thirona Moodley, the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa spokesperson, said they supported the plan mainly because it was based on the three-stream model.
But they believed that without an implementation plan yet explained by Motshekga, they cannot fully support something that they do not know.
“She made an announcement prematurely and the announcement has caused confusion,” said Moodley.
She said not all pupils are academically inclined and this contributed to a high school drop-out rate.
The Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) also agreed in principle to the Grade 9 GEC but not as an exit point for schooling.
The DA yesterday also raised concerns that the plan to formalise Grade 9 as one of the exit points of schooling would be disastrous.
DA education spokesperson Nomsa Marchesi said everyone was waiting to hear what exactly the plan entailed and how it would differ from the current education system.