The Department of Basic Education is moving ahead with its plans to offer a new school certificate to grade 9 learners known as the General Education Certificate (GEC).
Although the entire rollout will now take place in 2025, the department initially administered the certificate in 270 schools throughout the country last year.
While speaking during a media briefing on Sunday, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga stated that in 2023, the pilot programme will be further implemented in 1000 schools including schools of skill.
The number of participating schools will represent all 75 education districts, with further up-scaling planned for 2024. All schools are expected to participate in the GEC at the grade 9 level.
The minister further stated that the department will gain "further learnings" from the extended pilot period regarding how to improve the standard of the assessment tools used for the certificate, how to better integrate these tools into school-based assessments, and how to produce a comprehensive GEC report card for students.
The purpose of the GEC is to provide learners with expanded opportunities to display their capabilities on inquiry-based learning, solving real-world problems and designing practical solutions which will better prepare them for further education and training and the world of work.
The department has also emphasised that this is not a way for learners to leave the educational system. Instead, the certificate will help learners make smarter decisions, especially those who could change their attention from an exclusive focus on a college or university degree to more technical subjects and trades.
The assessment model of the GEC breaks away from the traditional examinations as it aims to understand the capabilities of learners.
The project-based assessments will be incorporated into many different subjects and aim to look at how learners integrate information across different subject areas to solve a particular issue.
The assessment model will be introduced as part of the GEC and inclinations assessment which looks at learners’ self-knowledge, attributes and inclinations in terms of career pathways.