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Should passing matric be the benchmark to determine a person’s success?

Pressure to complete matric is all so immense, but is passing matric the benchmark of one’s success? Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Pressure to complete matric is all so immense, but is passing matric the benchmark of one’s success? Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 28, 2022


Devan Moonsamy

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As we celebrate the success of the class of 2021, we must remember the candidates that did not fare as well as their fellow classmates.

Every year around the time of the release of the matric results we find an increase in the number of help lines made available to help those matriculants who have not passed. We also find information circulating to show matriculants what they can do if they have not achieved the desired results. What we don’t see is encouragement as to what is available other than completing matric.

Failing matric has always been met with a stigma of it being the end. Yes, Grade 12 is the final year of a person’s schooling career but not passing that year does not imply that there is absolutely nothing else a learner can do. What we find is that due to the lack of knowledge around information on what an individual who has failed can do, the benchmark is already set by society that if you fail matric, it’s the end of the world for you.

This is definitely not the case. If you have failed matric, it is just the beginning. This does not determine your entire future. As much as this sets back your plans you might have had to enter university and get a start on that glamourised campus lifestyle, failing might present you with an opportunity to assess your future plans.

The fact is no one wants to fail. People don’t sit for an exam and hope to fail. Everyone wants to pass and when someone does fail it just means they would need a do over in order to get to where they want to be.

One of the challenges of failure is that people celebrate success and shame failure. This should not be the case. If someone in your family or community has failed it does not determine their capability or make them a failure. It just means they would need to take another opportunity to get to where they need to be.

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Businesses, universities and colleges require a person to have their matric in order to get a job or enlist for a qualification. This benchmark is a necessary requirement that will allow the company or institute to meet the criteria they have set out.

But this does not mean if someone has not passed matric that they are not capable. Having a matric qualification is a gateway to different qualifications and jobs. But not having a matric can also produce a successful individual.

  • Without matric an individual can start their own business. While doing this they can look at alternative methods to study and keep the academic wheel in their life turning.
  • If you have a talent for photography or any other specific hobby turned career, get information on short courses being offered and study that.
  • Shadow or intern while trying to decide the next step. If you have always wanted to be a chef or baker, get in touch with someone in the field and shadow them for a while.
  • Whether it is fitness, modelling or being an influencer, have a vision of what you want to dabble in and make strides in getting into the field.
  • Many organisations offer learnerships, enquire about the minimum requirements as some just need a Grade 11. This can help you be productive while you rework your 5-year plan.

Alternatively, if you want to get ahead and on track with the plan you mapped out for yourself, then look at doing the following:

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  • Go to your school and find out about the remarking or rewriting. Enrol for the rewrite and get ahead of the results.
  • Study hard for the rewrite and while waiting for the results, focus on getting your learners and eventually license.
  • If you want to use this as a gap year, then go ahead. But you must remember to spring back soon into the academic field, as once you get comfortable with not doing something academically it becomes harder to get back into it.