Experts question new education certificate’s impact on academic standards

There has been debate whether the General Education Certificate (GEC) will, despite its intentions, inadvertently formalise the dropout phenomenon in South Africa, which is still at crisis level.

Currently, Grade 9 marks the end of compulsory schooling in South Africa. So, the GEC marks a significant milestone in a learner’s journey. However, this milestone does not have to be the end of that journey and the Department of Basic Education believes that obtainment of a GEC could actually encourage learners to continue their basic education beyond Grade 9.

This could very well be, but continuation requires more than just encouragement and is contingent on the implementation of policies and interventions that also address the root causes of learner dropout in South Africa, and experts are skeptical of the new certificate’s success.

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