South Africa: GEC Not an Exit Qualification - Umalusi

The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, says the proposed General Education Certificate (GEC) is not an exit qualification as widely reported but rather a transitional qualification.

"In principle, Umalusi supports the idea of a GEC - provided it is properly understood as a transitional qualification rather than an exit qualification.

"One of the advantages of the GEC is that it could provide valuable national data to gauge the performance of our education system. However, Umalusi will firstly evaluate the GEC qualification and then issue a formal statement on the outcome of that process," said Umalusi CEO Mafu Rakometsi.

The CEO made the remarks at a briefing on Umalusi's state of readiness for the 2019 matric exams.

The quality assurance body gave assessment bodies such as the Basic Education Department, Higher Education and Training Department (DHET) - and private assessment bodies - Independent Examinations Board (IEB), the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) and Benchmark Assessment Agency (BAA), the greenlight to administer the 2019 matric exams.

Rakometsi's comments follow a misinterpretation of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga comments made at the SADTU National Congress on the GEC.

Motshekga earlier clarified that the GEC plan proposes to send more learners into technical education and introduce new subjects which could be referred to as applied mathematics and applied science.

Addressing the media, Rakometsi, gave Umalusi's position on the GEC, adding that his body would advocate for learners to continue with schooling after the GEC.

"The General Education Certificate (GEC) is not an exit qualification. It is there to help us understand how the system is doing. What we are going to be doing and what we will encourage the department to do is encourage learners not to leave the schooling system after GEC.

"You and I know that at the end of GEC a learner will not be able to make a lot of mileage in terms of their career opportunities with the GEC," said Rakometsi.

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