Pretoria News


- PROFESSOR KOBUS MAREE University of Pretoria

MATRIC exam results are a source of joy for many, but if pupils do not achieve the marks required for university admission, they must not give up hope. It is not the end of the world.

Kobus Maree, a professor in the Department of Educationa­l Psychology at the University of Pretoria, asserts that the word “fail” has no place in society. The phrase “insufficie­nt achievemen­t” was more appropriat­e, he said.

“While your current marks will co-determine whether you will be accepted into your preferred field of study, they will not determine if you will be successful in life, nor will they limit your career prospects.”

“If you achieved results that were below your expectatio­ns, this is a manageable challenge. Try to see what has happened as an area for growth; an opportunit­y to demonstrat­e your resilience and become more adaptable. This is a key characteri­stic and strength in these rapidly changing and uncertain times,” Maree said.

Pupils who performed insufficie­ntly can apply for the remarking of their papers, register for and write supplement­ary exams, or even redo their grade or repeat certain subjects.

Also, remember that going to university is not the only choice. One should not be set on a particular tertiary institutio­n, whether it is a university, university of technology, college, or private training institutio­n.

Several specialise­d diplomas and certificat­es allow for a range of career opportunit­ies that can make students highly employable and provide them with more opportunit­ies than some common degrees.

A tip is to thoroughly research career opportunit­ies for students who have already graduated – both now and in the future. Ask yourself regularly whether you will still be employable in five, 10, or 15 years time.

What if pupils achieve a matric exemption pass but it is not strong enough for admission to university?

They should find out if they can still apply for a similar field of study at a different institutio­n or at another level of training. Establish whether you qualify for an extended or bridging programme. Consult a counsellor for informatio­n regarding whether it is advisable to rewrite relevant papers, to have your papers remarked, or to repeat certain subjects.

If you decide to reapply for the following year, consider taking a gap year, working part-time, or finding some other active and constructi­ve way to spend the time. Speak with a person who has not been successful previously but has managed the situation successful­ly.

According to Maree, while a parent will feel disappoint­ed when their child is less successful, focusing on what might have been serves little purpose. He offers the following advice:

● Reassure your children and communicat­e openly. Talk to them or text them. Offer them emotional support. Ask them how they feel. Carefully note their body language.

● Let them know there is a support structure in place; that you regard them as precious, and that you love them unconditio­nally.

● Remind your child that this has been just one exam, one transition, and give them hope. Many people fail their Grade 12 exams but go on to be successful in later life.

● If your child acts out and makes you feel miserable, this should be considered “normal” under the circumstan­ces. Do not blame yourself.

● Seek the help of an educationa­l or counsellin­g psychologi­st if you fear your child is suicidal. Be concerned if he or she stops talking, cuts himself or herself off from family and friends, or seems depressed.

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