Govt drops General Education Certificate

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cape Town - Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has announced that government has dropped plans to introduce the General Education Certificate for Grade 9's.

The General Education Certificate (GEC) was to have helped schools assess the readiness of Grade 9 learners to enter matric and was expected to have been introduced this year. It forms part of the National Curriculum Statement.

"I can advise that together with my provincial counterparts, we have agreed to drop plans for the introduction of a special General Education Certificate," said the minister.

She said the decision had been taken based on the belief that all learners should be progressing through all 12 years of schooling.

National standardised assessments will therefore be conducted at Grades 3, 6 and 9, which will ensure that children progress through the system based on national standards. "I am sure all teachers will welcome this decision," said Minister Motshekga.

The National Curriculum Statement has been revised many times since its initial introduction as an Outcomes Based Education Curriculum. "The revisions that have been made have aimed at providing greater specificity and clarity of purpose."

The minister said she agreed that there were a number of administrative impediments to the delivery of the curriculum and therefore a public participation process had been established to identify and eliminate impediments and barriers.

An independent team of experts will be holding hearings across the country over the next few weeks, to which teachers have been invited to make submissions. A dedicated website to facilitate comments from teachers has also been set up.

"Based on the report of these experts, and the electronic inputs, we will immediately take steps to ensure that teachers are indeed freed up to focus on their job of teaching, and eradicating any unnecessary administrative or other tasks that no not add value," said Ms Motshekga.