The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is working on a draft framework that will allow Grade 9 learners to receive a General Education Certificate. Following this, learners will then be streamlined to encourage focus on technical education. The announcement initially caused much confusion, leading to media outlets misleadingly reporting that Grade nine will be an exit year for learners.

Media outlets falsely reported on DBE Minister Angie Motshekga’s announcement during her address at the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union congress at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Thursday in which she introduced the General Education Certificate.

“We are also working on the introduction of multiple qualifications such as the General Education Certificate before the Grade 12 exit qualification,” said Motshekga in her address. “The NDP aims for a ‘World Class Assessment System’ involving ‘reliable measures of learning for every primary school’.”

“We plan to launch a Systemic Evaluation to be conducted at strategic grades by finalising preparations, and technical standards for the administration of systemic evaluation to enable high level national and provincial monitoring.”

“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.”

Following the misunderstanding, South Africans quickly took to social media to admonish the government and had the topic trending on Twitter. In response, the Department of Education released a statement today dispelling these reports.

“The Department of Basic Education has noted with concern, misleading media reports and social media posts claiming that learners could leave school in Grade 9.  That is further from the truth,” the department said in a statement.

“The GEC certificate is predicated on the 3-Stream Model which has the academic pathway, the technical/vocational pathway and the technical/occupational pathway,” said the Education Department  in a statement.

“The plan aims to send more learners into technical education. Under the technical vocational stream, there was a target of 10 000 artisans per year. The Department has also introduced new subjects – technical mathematics and technical science – which could be referred to as applied mathematics and applied science. These were relevant in supporting areas of specialization and schools that offer these subject were currently being unveiled in different parts of the country with the majority of them presently launched in Gauteng.”

“The purpose of awarding a General Education Certificate (GEC) is to equip learners with the values, knowledge and skills that will enable or enhance meaningful participation in society, contribute towards developing sustainable communities, provide a basis for learning in further education and training, and establish a firm foundation for skills develop that will prepare learns for the workplace.”

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