Matric results: what will you do?


In recent years when the Matric Results are published there is public outcry over the quality of the results, including the rapidly lowered pass rate (we are now sitting firmly in the 30% range).  This year the public were counter-criticised by politicians claiming that members of the public were in fact rather elitist when you consider:

  • the numbers of people in the country that are in the possession of matric certificate (school leaving/grade 12/NQF Lvl 4)
  • how many of those had gone on to study at University level and graduate, and
  • how many of those who had completed University level studies were gainfully employed and living a life befitting one of means.

We couldn’t argue with that – and that statement sent many-a-social-network activist back into their middle class enclaves.  The figures of how many matriculants manage to enter University or some other Tertiary learning institute are low; and we were reminded that there are Further Education and Training (FET)  Colleges as avenues toward skills training (as opposed to the Academic route offered by Universities and their ilk).  Bitter pill to swallow considering that the FET Training band is from NQF Levels 3 to 4 (bear in mind that Level 4 is matric level).  The idea to me that we are suggesting steering people to move horizontally across levels is disturbing.  While government budget in Education is being pumped into FET Colleges, they also need to be looking at upgrading the levels of skill and resources within those institutions.  I have much experience with colleges that offer Multimedia as an optional subject in IT but whose learners are being taught this extremely practical subject theoretically; and without sufficient resources (cameras, software, and adequate access to a fully functional lab with sufficient bandwidth to practice); but perhaps I digress.

 Many are left hopeless at the idea of a future with a large number of people with low matric results who have been unable to access employment, or further opportunities for study.  What can we do to help?

  • You can sponsor a child through school, by your involvement you can help mentor and continuously inspire a young person through ensuring that they stay the course.  You can find people either from a school in your old neighbourhood through the teachers (you need to make sure to invest in a student that is already performing well).  You’ll find that annual school fees in townships are hard to reach for most parents and you can be a great help.  Your sponsorship may be tuition only or uniform; anything can work.
  • Make yourself available to be a guest in your school to speak to young people about the world of careers and work.  You can ensure that you are on the Life Orientation teacher’s rotation schedule and this may be an hour of your time a year, but it can help open up new possibilities to a young person who does not see too much of themselves in the street.
  • School libraries are always in dire need for help and they are the one of the first resources to forego when budget is prioritised.
  • A group of friends can adopt a school and give of their time to “redesign” and decorate classroom spaces.  You can do this one classroom at a time, you have connections (get your clients to sponsor paint and brushes and spend an afternoon including the help of students and teachers).  It’s amazing what a fresh space can do to the mind!
  • Do you have any idea how many people struggle with raising enough money for Applications or Registration Fees? You can resolve to save money as a group and help people send in Applications or register in colleges.  So many people are unable to fill forms and this is why their applications are not considered, spend time helping young people fill forms.

I’m not saying that any of these (or whatever other methods you can come up with) are fool proof.  A few years ago a friend of mine and I decided to put a child through high school.  My friend’s sister is a teacher so that helped us find the right student with the financial need, but with an intense drive to study.  We bought stationery and two sets of uniform and paid for her tuition for the year.  We made it clear that we would not be paying for anything else other than her tuition.  It wasn’t but the second week of school when we got a phone call from her gran requesting that we purchase takkies for athletics (her takkies were old and she needed to run her best).  A few days later her mother called informing us that she needed money to buy sanitary pads.  We did neither – and were extremely saddened that where we tried to help people saw us a way to gain more than we were prepared to give (as if we had a whole heap of cash with no idea how to spend it – you know what I’m talking about).  This is bound to happen, sometimes when you help people take advantage, this is true even for state or corporate bursaries, and it’s a risk you have to be willing to make.  There are times where you will find people who are grateful for opportunities and who are more than willing to ensure that they use the opportunity to change their life – and there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than to know that you have (in small measure) been a part of someone’s entire life’s change.

Bottom line – you’ll be doing something to change the situation. And that counts more than140 characters worth of a rant.



First Published in Like Water      Photograher Khumbelo      You can peep more of my writing on Like Water or find me on @Tebogo101


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