Opinion Article by Dumi Mbona.

At Grade 9 your child can leave school with a General Education Certificate.

General Education Certificate planned by the Department of Basic Education has sparked controversy about the overall education and it’s quality.

The planned GEC will be implemented in as early as July 2020. So let’s look at the GEC using different lenses and angles:

What is GEC according to the mainstream media?

  • It means your children are given a school exit certificate at Grade 9; they can now enter the “land mines” like job market.
  • The education system has failed to educate children and provide quality education.
  • Children are being set up for failure since the unemployment rate is higher.
  • Department of Education is chasing your children away because they cannot teach them.

What is GEC according to the public?

  1. It means that Government is only concerned about themselves; they only care about quantity not quality.
  2. They killing our kids by not allowing them to complete Matric.
  3. Government is useless and this is the sign.
  4. It first started with a 30% pass mark now this, how hopeless can it get? We are doomed.

GEC according to the world.

General Education Certificate
  • In the United States of America and Canada they GED (General Education Development) certificate in High School. GED serves as an alternative to the High School Diploma.
  • GED provides skills and discipline that are required in the work place.
  • It is a way to ensure that a nation has an educated and skilled members of society who will add value to the economy.
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What is GEC according to the Department of Basic Education?

  • It’s an equipping and instilling of skills and values that will enhance meaningful participation in society.
  • It provides basis for further learning and training.
  • General Education Certificate complements the previous learning years and competencies. Giving learners a choice to either learn skills that will prepare them for work or continue with High School.

The facts.

  • Formal education is not for everyone. It’s not everyone who strive to be an academia.
  • Shoving formal education down the society’s throat will produce “burden academics”. This is our reality as a nation. Our graduates have become a burden to the struggling economy because they achieved those academic milestones for wrong reasons. Therefore we lack job creators, people who can think outside the Textbook!
  • 60% of children who started primary school do not reach Grade 12. School dropouts in South Africa is a serious issue that is not spoken about when high unemployment rate is discussed. However School dropouts add approximately 60% to the unemployment rate.
  • GEC is not new to South Africa. 1st World countries do have a similar alternative education system and it works.
General Education Certificate

General Education Certificate will provide the 60% school dropouts an opportunity to be skilled and be further educated outside of the High School environment. It is a solution not a problem.

FET Colleges already provide alternative to High School. This is nothing new. DBE is giving a certificate to learners who may be struggling with academic progress in High School. The certificate will get them accepted at FET Colleges in order to have them trained as artisans or whatever their strengths maybe; they can now make a choice to get educated in one way or the other.

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Why the outrage?

Poor communication from the Department has sparked fearful reaction by the public. Reckless journalism is a new trend in South Africa, sensational reporting in order to sell a story has fed the public poison.

Department of Basic Education has treated Tag My School Mag like outsiders therefore we have nothing to gain by this article. We are interested in what serves our young people right and General Education Certificate does just that.

Inclusive solutions.

To avoid such bad reaction next time. Government officials need to learn the meaning of the words “public servants” the day these words have meaning to our officials, that will be the day we see both government and the public form a strong partnership.

Reach out and include the public in generating solutions.