EDUCATION SERIES 4 I 28 JUNE 2019
When is it ok to leave school for good?
BY EVETTE ERASMUS
In South Africa basic formal schooling comes to an end upon the completion of grade 9 or if the child has reached 15 years of age. From age 16 and/or grade 10, formal schooling is considered voluntary and forms part of the FET (Further Education and Training) phase of education.
Learners that leave formal schooling institutions at the end of grade 9 can choose to enrol with FET colleges or TVET colleges. TVET stands for Technical and Vocational Education and Training and these colleges offer a variety of NQF (national qualifications framework) accredited qualifications that have both practical and theoretical components for learners that might not be purely academically inclined. NQF level 4 qualifications are offered which is the equivalent national skill level of a matric certificate without being awarded an actual matric. For further information regarding NQF level qualifications and SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) refer to www.saqa.org.za. The information provided by SAQA and the NQF can prove to be very helpful in charting the next step in your child’s education after grade 9. A qualification that can lead to an income generating job is the first prize. It might be necessary to compile an education strategy that includes the completion of more than one shorter qualification in order to attain the NQF level qualifications needed to apply for the actual qualification you and your child might be after.
Matriculants (IEB or NSC) can also apply to TVET colleges to pursue a qualification with more practical aspects than a university degree. Furthermore TVET colleges have different entrance requirements to universities that might be more suitable to your child’s grade 12 level of achievement.
The choice of whether your child should go on to complete a grade 12 qualification is dependent upon several factors. Your child’s academic ability, qualifications on offer at local TVET and/or FET colleges, whether the college qualification will allow for real job opportunities, will another three years of formal schooling detract or add to their emotional and personal development. In many instances it makes more sense to rather attempt a grade 12 qualification with all the extra help you can muster. Even if the marks are not fantastic, a grade 12 school leaving certificate carries more weight than that of a grade 9. Applying for part-time jobs with a grade 12 certificate has a higher chance of success.
Arm yourself with information. Make a point of understanding your child’s academic needs and his/her potential futures on offer. Yes, sometimes they do surprise us and we all know that even the best laid plans can come to naught, yet being knowledgeable regarding the education options that are available for your child’s unique set of talents will already provide you with more choices than if you hadn’t done some form of investigation.
Feel free to contact us at Opti-Learn (www.opti-learn.co.za) should you have questions and are struggling to find the answers. We might just be able to help!