LEAVING school in Grade 9 sounds like a good option, as proposed by the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

The minister announced introducing General Education Certificate (GEC) that would allow pupils to exit high school after completing Grade 9, but not everyone agrees to this.

She said pupils could choose to leave school to follow vocational-technical stream (with skills such as construction and electronics) or a vocational-occupational stream, to focus on subjects such as agricultural studies and hairdressing.

The department of education said the GEC would gauge a pupil’s skills and competency levels to ensure that new pathways are made available should they wish to exit their formal schooling career.

The aim of this is to address a lack of skilled artisans in Mzansi.

We asked Nthabiseng Phoshoko, the commercial director for LFP Group, Mzansi’s privately-owned FET college, of her take on what options would be available to pupils who choose to end their formal schooling at Grade 9?

Phoshoko has spent time working with Mzansi’s economically vulnerable youth as they look for opportunities for advancement.

“LFP Training provides learnerships for unemployed and citizens living with disability in Mzansi. If an unemployed person with a GEC were to apply for an LFP learnership, we would not take them as our minimum requirement is a Grade 10 qualification,” she said.

“LFP’s learnerships are designed to provide young South Africans with both the practical and soft skills required to secure employment,” she said.

The government-backed Youth Employment Services (YES) Programme aims to tackle the lack of social capital by helping more than one million young participants of technical and vocational programmes find paid, work-based internships.

A matric qualification is required for entrance into the YES Programme.

Phoshoko asked if “alternate measures such as youth mentorship, tutoring and youth entrepreneurship programmes had been considered?”

She advised Grade 9 pupils who want to opt for the GEC, should it be implemented, to do their research and understand the realities of the job market they would be entering.