Failing ‘is not a matter of life or death’

Failing matric is, needless to say, devastating for a young person who has dreams of a better life.

So much so that some pupils who fail even take their own lives.

Janine Shamos, spokesman for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, cautioned pupils not to see their matric results as a matter of life or death.

“Matric learners need to remember there are always options.

“There’s always something that can be done, even if it means rewriting a subject.

“Even if you failed the whole year, there are always options,” she said.

Data from Stats SA data show the unemployment rate among those without a matric certificate stood at a staggering 58.1% during the first quarter of 2016.

This is more than double the national unemployment rate of more than 27%.

“Youth with less than a matric were most likely to be unemployed,” Stats SA said in a report.

The unemployment rate among those with just a matric was 33.7%.

Though still high, this was better compared with those who did not complete Grade 12.

Employment opportunities are even better for those with tertiary qualifications. Just 6.2% of graduates were unemployed in the first quarter of last year.

Failing matric should not be the end of the road. The Basic Education Department has a programme, aptly called Second Chance, to assist pupils who do not pass Grade 12 the first time.

“The overarching objective of this programme is to offer young people who have failed . a second chance to obtain a matric [certificate], thereby improving their quality of life,” said the department’s Elijah Mhlanga.

It is a support-driven programme in which participants are taught by Grade 12 teachers “with an excellent track record”.

Shamos urged pupils who have failed matric to speak to their schools about options available to them. “It doesn’t mean it’s the end of your life. It means that you have a new opportunity to be better than you were the last time.”