The Grade 9 policy is a cynical diversion for those whom the ...

Ideas

The Grade 9 policy is a cynical diversion for those whom the system failed

It is not a progressive study option, but a way to channel poor, black and working-class kids out of the system

Columnist

Imagine an education system in which every child went to a high-quality preschool. That child enters Grade 1 with confidence and already can do basic things like read an illustrated book, write her name and recite her address. In no time, this child can calculate and compute alongside reading a new book every other week. Every teacher in her school is qualified and the basic resources are available for teaching and learning.

Then, for some reason, the parents discover that this child would be excellent in one of the trades. She can fix things from an early age and by the time the child reaches Grade 9, the youngster can already repair basic household appliances. The family decides that the child will exit Grade 9 with a general education certificate and enrol in the nearby vocational and technical college.

The facilities at this TVET are world class and all the lecturers have specialist training in their disciplines. This child decides to do basic electrical engineering courses and excels in this intensive teaching and learning environment that boasts the latest in digital technologies. On graduation, the well-qualified student now has the option of going straight into an internship programme with BMW or following the transfer option that allows for registration towards a formal engineering degree at the local university...

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