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News that the Department of Education is planning to turn Grade 9 into an exit point for learners left South Africa furious on Friday.
If implemented, the change will allow learners in their early teens to formally leave school with a General Education Certificate, as opposed to the National Senior Certificate received after completing 12 years of school at the end of Matric.
Many took to Twitter to express their feelings of anger and bewilderment after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega made the announcement on Thursday evening.
“A government that can’t employ its formal graduates now wants to release unprepared grade 9’s into the world,” one user tweeted.
A government that can’t employ its formal graduates now wants to release unprepared grade 9’s into the world. The FET college structure is in shambles most FET’s were shut down post 94 in preference of university… https://t.co/jHG9FIKWqt
— Mlondolozi Hempe (@mlo_creates) September 27, 2019
This Grade 9 short cut is a disgrace, our government is failing us.
Stop this madness #grade9
— Hlena_Mbingeleli (@Muhle37787775) September 27, 2019
Education system is captured by the capitalist system. Primary education being far below standard yet still encouraging learners to dropout at grade 9. Tertiary education admition is so difficult. Now we just was to create the 3rd working class.
— siyabonga maluleka (@siyabongamalul3) September 27, 2019
Exactly my point.
People with matric and the graduates are already struggling. Where are these grade 9 kids going to go? https://t.co/yXIfaZVqRS
— Mamane BabyCakes. (@Bobby_M97) September 27, 2019
South african education system has not been working efficiently over the past years. Even the department accepts that. How then can we say our children can leave school in grade 9? Who will employ them? This is dangerous. This will expose our children to hard and cheap labour.
— Melusi Mbeje (@MelusiMbeje20) September 27, 2019
We should boycott this grade 9 thingy. I mean when I was in grade 9, I knew almost nothing
— Ipeleng (@Brigalia_Black) September 27, 2019
Other South Africans, however, noted that there was value in the change.
Personally I think It’s a very good idea considering that most people drop out grade 9-10. Such guys literally run almost all plants and mining operations. Office academics are most likely to be against the idea. Skilled labor with experience is better than most jnr engineers
— TumeloCliveSithi 🇿🇦 (@csithi) September 27, 2019
This Grade 9 being an exit point thing is neither new nor unique to South Africa. A number of countries allow people to leave school at Grade 9 and enter technical training. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea if our education system wasn’t in shambles & if we had training centers
— Miranda Priestly’s Hair (@naledimashishi) September 27, 2019
I can understand a system where some kids leave school in Grade 9 *if* there’s a functioning system of technical or vocational training. In the absence of that system, our Education Minister seems to be calling for children to be ejected from schools directly onto the pavement.
— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) September 27, 2019
Some also pointed out that the option to leave school at Grade 9 isn’t new, and the Department of Education simply wants to make it official.
Now after Grade 9 you can further your studies or got to TVET. This has been going on for years with ABET Level 4. Which is in the same category as Gr 9. They are both exit phases of the GET BAND. The only difference was that there was no certificate issued upon passing Grade 9.
— Chief Erican (@EricanSA) September 27, 2019
You people know that Grade 9 was already an exit point for learners, & this is just to codify it?
The intention is to de-stigmatize TVET colleges, as that is where we need the majority of youths. Trained in vocational skills
We shouldn’t hold hold weird sentiments for the system
— Mbuyiseli Zarif (@Lwazi_Somya) September 27, 2019
It’s clear from the tweets that, though there are valid arguments in favour of the government’s plan, South Africans are convinced that we do not have the correct systems in place to profit from Grade 9 learners leaving school.
Feature image: Pixabay via Pexels