Matriculants experienced a stressful exam year because of Covid-19 and now those who have either failed their exams or passed them but been unable to get into the tertiary institution of their choice face extra anxiety.
The 2020 matric pass rate has dropped from 81.3% to 76.2% from the previous year, according to Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, and that’s a statistic that will have real-world consequences for a lot of young people.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) received 65000 applications for this year and there is currently only space for 7370 applications.
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said: “We are busy with the CPUT admissions now and we are also very busy with the online applications. Once students have applied on time and have accepted their places and registered, then we may consider opening for late applications but strictly only in courses with space.”
She said matriculants who don’t make it into undergraduate studies are encouraged to either improve their marks to increase their chances of admission, to apply at a TVET college or to perhaps consider another course for which they have the appropriate subject selection and marks.
“Due to the pandemic, we have taken most learning online. Teaching that may require access to labs or classrooms happens on a rotational basis, so this limits the amount of students on campus at any time,” she said.
CPUT usually has an open day in May, and applications for studying the following year will open up soon after that again.
The Western Cape Education Department has meanwhile noted a marked increase in learners approaching their schools for support and some form of assistance in the metro district.
Kerry Mauchline, the spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said: “The district noted that a large number of learners were referred with stress and anxiety-related issues and many of the Grade 12 learners were concerned with the stop-start year and whether they would be ready for the final exams.”
Matric exams were stressful enough without a pandemic, she said.
Universities are not the only options available to those leaving schools, as there are many other higher education options out there.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said: “A possible disappointing matric result outcome can be difficult for both learners and parents to come to terms with and the best way forward may not be clear. A learner’s disappointment about their results may trigger trauma or other feelings of deep unease.”
All pupils and their parents could receive support and counselling services through the department, she said. The public can access the department’s services by visiting the office closest to them or by contacting the department’s hotline at 0800 220 250.