Last week Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, announced the matric pass rate of 75,1%, a 2,6 percentage point improvement on the 2016 pass rate.
A total of 802 431 full- and part-time students had registered for the 2017 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations (down from 828 020 students registered in 2016). Of the registered candidates only 651 707 students wrote the examinations (534 484 full-time and 117 223 part-time students) – where a total of 401 435 students successfully passed and will receive their matric certificates.
Background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) CEO, Ina van der Merwe, says: “According to the results released last week, only 144 167 students received a bachelors pass, which means their results were good enough to apply to study a degree at University. The remaining students, however, face trying to secure a place at a tertiary institution on the merit of their results, or competing with vast numbers of recent graduates and other young job seekers already in the market.”
According to the latest Labour Force Survey by Stats SA, the unemployment rate in South Africa remains unchanged at 27,7%. However, the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24-years is alarmingly higher at 38,6%. Added to this, it is estimated that 30% of the 10.3 million young persons within this age bracket were not in any form of employment, education or training during 2017.
“These statistics are certainly startling – and, understandably, this is a very stressful time for students who undertook their senior year in 2017. While some students may be tempted to ’embellish’ their matric results in a misguided attempt to give themselves a competitive edge and advance their chances in the job market, doing so actually poses more risks to themselves, their credibility and potential future employability,” van der Merwe suggests.
“If it is determined that a job applicant candidate has misrepresented their results, in effect, this is fraud. The employing company may take steps to ‘blacklist’ the candidate from ever applying for future available job positions at that company — however, if pursued further, the candidate could even face criminal charges and jail time, depending on the severity of their misrepresentation. Looking at the bigger picture, lying about matric results in any formal application process is just not worth the risk,” says van der Merwe.
MIE data from the company’s vetting services conducted in the first ten months of 2017 revealed that demand for qualification or educational background checks remains high — after criminal as the most frequently requested checks. This research also revealed that there has been an increase in the number of matric certificates being misrepresented by job applicants.
The tough economic environment is certainly taking effect on the job market — where businesses are under pressure to perform ethically and are becoming increasingly stringent on their human resource and hiring policies — including incorporating comprehensive background screening checks in their hiring practices.
Van der Merwe believes that students who were not successful in passing their final examinations should consider other available legal and ethical options to secure their qualifications. “The Department of Education offers several services such as having exams objectively rechecked, or remarked — or a student may qualify to write supplementary exams. Even if none of these options may be sufficient to secure a pass rate, students can still look to repeat the year either as a full- or part-time student, where there are a number of institutions and colleges that offer matric equivalent courses.”
“The job market may be tough, but a candidate should never be willing to compromise their credibility. We urge all job seekers to apply for positions that they are suitable to — and to always be truthful about their results and qualifications. Committing qualification fraud could be more damaging to a candidate’s future employability than not having a matric certificate at all,” concludes van der Merwe.