WATCH | Is leaving school at grade 9 the best plan to reduce dropout rates?

27 September 2019 - 11:23
By Unathi Nkanjeni

The government’s plans to allow students to leave school at the end of Grade 9 with an “alternative set of qualifications” has stirred up a lot of controversy and got tongues wagging.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced the plan at the 9th Sadtu national congress held at Nasrec on Thursday.

She said the draft framework for a general education certificate was being developed at a strategic level and a field trial was scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020.

“We are working on the introduction of multiple qualifications such as the General Education Certificate before the grade 12 exit qualification.

“The first cycle of systemic evaluation in grades 3, 6 and 9 will be finalised by June 2020. The field trial for the General Education Certificate (GEC) at the end of grade 9 is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020.”

The proposals, according to Motshekga, are part of a “world-class assessment system” that involves “reliable measures of learning for every primary school”.

Motshekga said the GEC would reduce failure, repetition and matric dropout rates.

Eleven focus areas have been identified for the strategic framework, including the decolonisation of basic education and eliminating the digital divide.


The move has been heavily criticised by many concerned citizens, saying it doesn’t prepare children for the corporate world and that a skills-based curriculum is needed.