With the recent release of the matric results of the Class of 2017, thousands of learners who did not do as well as required (and their parents) are feeling anxious and uncertain about the future. But while below par results are disappointing, it is important to know that there are a number of options that can get learners back on track.
The most important thing for both parents and learners having sleepless nights over their results, is to not panic. Because while it might feel like the end of the world at the moment, clear heads and a pragmatic approach are required to make the right decisions for the future.
It is particularly important for adults to manage their response, as their emotional state could impact on the resilience of learners in the wake of the release of results. Although parents and guardians may feel deeply disappointed, they should know that their first words and reactions may leave a lasting impact.
The best approach for adults is to take stock and consider their unified position so that their energy can be focused solely on the learner and their next steps.
The options open to learners who failed, but who are determined to still earn their National Senior Certificate, include, sitting for the supplementary examinations, sending papers for either a re-mark or re-check, returning to school and re-registering for matric and registering at another school to complete matric, completing matric via distance learning.
Those learners who passed, but didn’t achieve the marks required for entrance into degree study, have the option to send papers for either a re-mark or re-check, enroll for a Higher Certificate at a higher education institution which can give access to degree study or enroll for a Diploma which can give access to degree study.
It is also important to remember that while a learner’s marks may not have been good enough to get access to their first choice of course or institution, that doesn’t mean they have no other study options left. Quite the opposite in fact, so parents and prospective students should ensure that they have really investigated the offerings at both public universities and private higher education institutions.
Each university and private higher education provider set their own minimum criteria, and these requirements vary between institutions. An institution where the demand outweighs the availability of space may set this bar quite high, which means they are likely to accept only students who are very strong academically. Other institutions may have made provision for students who require more support, and will therefore have more accommodating admission requirements.
That means it may not be necessary to repeat Grade 12 or rewrite a subject, as there could be alternatives available in a learner’s chosen field of study. The most important thing to remember is that below par matric results don’t have to mean giving up on one’s dreams and aspirations.
If parents and learners can handle this situation maturely, and strategise their next steps instead of getting stuck in a catastrophising mindset, disappointing performance could be just the catalyst needed to propel a learner in a new and better direction, with more determination and resolve than before.
Fathima Razack is Head of Programme at the Faculty of Commerce based at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest, most accredited registered private higher education institute