Basic Education Angie Motshekga emphasised that the proposed GEC for Grade 9 pupils would not just provide for the exiting of the school system. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Basic Education Angie Motshekga on Tuesday emphasised that the proposed General Education Certificate (GEC) for Grade 9 pupils would not provide for the exiting of the school system.

"People should not put words in our mouths. We are saying the certificate is an exit level of a phase, not the system," Motshekga said.

She made the statement when the department briefed the basic education portfolio committee on the proposed certificate.

Motshekga told MPs that she received a certificate at Form 5 and Form 8 during her school days and had never left school on receiving her certificates. Instead, she had continued with her studies until she completed matric.

Briefing the committee earlier on Tuesday, chief director for curriculum Moses Simelane said the proposed GEC would provide an accurate recognition of learning achievement of South African pupils at the end of the compulsory school phase at Grade 9.

Simelane said the certificate would facilitate access, mobility and progression within education, training and career paths as well as address inefficiencies evident from candidates repeating levels 2 and 3 in FET colleges after completing matric.

He also said the certificate for Grade 9 pupils would help channel pupils to three stream models - academic, technical vocational and technical occupational.

Simelane also said it would enable the facilitation of the skills revolution in the country and align qualifications offered in the school system.

Motsheka said the recent media reports on the certificates highlighted the lack of communication by the department on the matter, adding that the matter had been raised in her last three budget speeches.

"The reaction shows that we talk to ourselves and talk past each other," she said.

"We are working on a strategy to get everybody on board," she said, adding that the ANC has instructed her to up the department's communication on the proposed certificate.

Motsheka insisted that the proposed certificate was formalising that which was already happening.

"This is the DNA of the system...It was by the country that this is what should happen," she said.

She also said the department was forging ahead with the certificate which was expected to be rolled out on 2022.

"We have been dilly-dallying. We know it has not been an easy one. That is why it expired when we registered for it. It is not an easy one but we are not underestimating it," Motshekga said.

She sought to assure MPs that they would not do something that so difficult carelessly without doing proper work.

This after MPs from the DA asked tough questions around the initiative's preparations.

She told the MPs of introduction technical subjects as part of providing new career pathways for pupils beyond Grade 9 and collaboration with the private sector.

Political Bureau