My geriatric mind tells me that South Africa is sitting with a failed education system. I would go as far as to say that a crime has been committed against the young people of South Africa. The standards to achieve a matriculation certificate are set at a very low percentage mark. I believe that this is the cause of the 85% drop out rate of the first year students at our universities. They are just not equipped to cope with the demands at university and I blame our secondary schools for this. Professor Jansen was not very popular over his utterances about this particular matter. It should not be up to the universities to have to get students up to speed so that they can further their studies.

The following summary of the requirements for obtaining a matriculation certificate (NSC) are as follows from this website: –

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the 2015 Matric results, but what does it all really mean?

Firstly, there are three pass levels:

  1. Higher certificate
    2. Diploma
    3. Bachelors Degree (which was commonly known as an exemption).

Here are the pass requirements for each of these levels

Higher certificate pass requirements

  • Must obtain 40% in your Home Language.
  • Must obtain at least 40% in two other subjects.
  • Must obtain at least 30% for three other subjects.

It is important to note that one of your languages must either be English or Afrikaans to qualify for a Higher Certificate.

Diploma pass requirements

  • Must obtain at least 40% for your Home Language.
  • Must obtain at least 40% for four other High Credit subjects.
  • Must obtain at least 30% for two other subjects.

Bachelors Degree pass requirements

  • Must obtain at least 40% for your Home Language. (60%)
  • Must obtain at least 50% for four other High Credit subjects. (60%)
  • Must obtain at least 30% for two other subjects. (50%)
  • The bracketed red percentages are what I feel should be the minimum requirements for university entrance!!


Which subjects are compulsory?

  • Home Language
  • First Additional Language
  • Life Orientation

What are High Credit subjects?

  • Languages
  • Accounting
  • Agricultural Science
  • Business Studies
  • Consumer Studies
  • Dramatic Arts
  • Economics
  • Engineering Graphics & Design
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical Literacy
  • Music
  • Physical Sciences
  • Religion Studies
  • Visual Arts

Low Credit subjects

  • Agricultural Management Practices
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Civil Technology
  • Computer Applications Technology
  • Dance Studies
  • Design Studies
  • Electrical Technology
  • Hospitality Studies
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Tourism



There are plus minus 30 subjects that can be offered at the different schools. I believe that this has led to a grossly over loaded system. We need to ask the question as to whether these subjects really belong in our basic school curriculum. I believe that a lot of them need to be scrapped. They are consuming resources such as finances which could be put to better use. I would consider a lot of them to be extra mural activities which you would do in your own time.

Surely the time has come to reduce the choice of subjects in our schools. We need to get back to basic subjects. We had a choice of about ten subjects when I was in school and I do not believe I am any the worse off because of it. If you wanted to do a science degree at university you just knew you had to achieve a certain pass mark in mathematics and science plus your language. If you did not achieve the required standard you did not go to university. You just had to find another career. The Higher Certificate that is issued today with a pass rate of 40% and 30% is in fact a worthless piece of paper when looking for employment in the job market. Putting it crudely would you employ someone who only gets three correct out of ten.

When I see all the strife and turmoil that is happening at our universities, colleges and schools where some of the institutions are destroyed or damaged makes me very sad. I just cannot see why anyone would want to destroy the very institutions which help educate you for a better and more productive life. My tiny cotton picking brain just cannot understand this.

We have about a million students enrolled at universities at the moment. The Government aim is to have about 1.6 million enrolled by the year 2030. It has been said that our dropout rate for the first year is about 85%. This raises the question as whether these students should have been there in the first place. In my humble opinion this is an awful waste of resources in an already overloaded system. The actual teaching is being high jacked by the various perceived or otherwise wrongs of the past being dug up. Time would be better spent in the lecture halls learning than trying to deface or pull down statues of Cecil Rhodes. The question that is being asked is whether pulling down a statue of Rhodes is going to gave you a better university degree. I really do not think so. Time spent studying would be far more beneficial. We cannot go back in time and change the events that took place, so rather live in the present moment, work hard and carve out a better life for yourself.

Our Government is prone to always quoting statistics to show how well the country is doing. This has resulted in quantity being espoused rather than quality. Our primary and secondary school system needs to be completely overhauled. We need an end product that can either succeed at university, college or the chosen career. The bottom line is that a certificate with a pass mark of 30-40% is not acceptable. Sadly I believe the problem lies mainly in the teaching in most cases and not with the student. It is going to be more effective to fix the problem at source.



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