What is ABET?

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Are you an adult looking to complete your basic education? Well, keep on reading to find out about ABET and what they offer.


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Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) is available to adults who wish to complete their basic education. 

The concept of ABET is uniquely South African, which was contested for a time by those who believed in the power of the alternative, non-formal approaches to adult education.

The reasons for adopting the term fell into two main groups:

  • One of the deepest critical perceptions of adult education in South Africa, especially on the part of labour unions and business, was that education had little application in life and work, while training meant drilling in routine jobs with no attention to underlying knowledge and values.
  • ABET grew out of adult literacy work. Its adoption was the result of political struggle informed by research. Despite the achievements of adult literacy work in the struggle, literacy alone was not considered adequate to support real social transformation. It was meant to offer an appropriately adult route to a general education aimed at making a significant improvement in the quality of life.

The four levels of ABET training are equivalent to Grades R to 9.

ABET includes training in:

  • Language, literacy and communication
  • Mathematical literacy, mathematics and mathematical sciences
  • Natural science
  • Arts and culture
  • Life orientation
  • Technology
  • Human and social science
  • Economic and management science

Learners can also choose to take courses in:

  • Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs)
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Travel and tourism
  • Applied agriculture
  • Early childhood development
  • Ancillary health care

Learners could also do their adult matric through ABET. 

The following learners are eligible for admission to the amended Senior Certificate:

  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older who have:
    a) A General Education and Training Certificate (GETC).
    b) Or a Grade 9 school report (or the old standard seven) stating that they have passed Grade 9 or Standard 7.
    c) Or a recognised equivalent qualification obtained at NQF Level which requires two official languages.
  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older with an incomplete Senior Certificate qualification.
  • Adult learners who are 21 years and older with an incomplete National Senior Certificate and whose School-Based Assessment (SBA) validity has expired.
  • Only in exceptional cases, out of school youth, who are 18-21 years old and who could not complete their school education due to circumstances beyond their control, as verified by the Head of Department in the Provincial Education Department.

Visit their website for more information about ABET.


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