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GEC to grow artisanship in South Africa

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

The General Education Certificate will facilitate the transition from school to college and also address the current problem of young people leaving education with no national qualification, to navigate the labour market.

The move to introduce a General Education Certificate (GEC) at the end of Grade Nine could help with the development of artisans, according to the Department of Basic Education (DBE). "The Field Trial for the GEC at the end of Grade nine is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2020. A draft framework for the GEC has been developed. Assessment and examination modalities for the GEC are being investigated... The technical occupational subjects have been packaged and submitted to Umalusi for approval," said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The department said GECs will assist pupils to access technical education at institutions such as technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges.

“The GEC certificate is predicated on the 3-Stream Model which has the academic pathway, the technical vocational pathway and the technical/occupational pathway. The plan aims to send more learners into technical education,” said department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

He explained that new subjects are being piloted as part of a plan to equip pupils for TVET studies.

“The department has also introduced new subjects – technical mathematics and technical science – which could be referred to as applied mathematics and applied science,” he said.

They support areas of specialisation and schools that offer these subjects are currently being unveiled in different parts of the country, said Mhlanga.

He said GECs would contribute towards developing sustainable communities, provide a basis for learning in further education and training and establish a firm foundation for skills development that will prepare learners for the workplace.

 “Under the technical vocational stream, there was a target of 10 000 artisans per year,” said Mhlanga.

The DBE recently came under heavy criticism from the general public following reports that it was planning to award school-leaving certificates to Grade Nine pupils.

 Mhlanga said the plan, which sparked furious debate on social media, was nothing new and had, in fact, been mentioned in three speeches in the past. First, by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Basic Education Lekgotla on 21 January, then in the President’s State of the Nation Address in February and, lastly, during the BDE’s Budget Vote on 17 June, he detailed.