22 February 2021

How learners may deal with Grade 12 Outcomes

By Prof Kobus Maree

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Podcasts and Downloads

For learners. What if learners do not achieve the marks required for university admission?

So, the Grade 12 2020 exam results are out. First, I congratulate all of you listening to this podcast. You have had to deal with many challenges in 2020 and I salute you for your resilience.

Those of you that of have not achieved the marks you required for university admission: Of course you must not give up hope. It is not the end of the world.

To begin with: The word ‘fail’ has no place in current society. You have not ever ‘failed’ anything. Instead the phrase ‘insufficient achievement’ is more appropriate. 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. Yes, it hurts when one learns that the outcomes of an examination were less successful than expected. But step back emotionally and interpret the experience logically. All human beings experience success and are less successful from time to time. This is the most normal thing in the world.

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. These are key characteristics and strengths in these rapidly changing and uncertain times. 

Options are for learners to apply for the remarking of their papers, register for and write supplementary exams, or even re-do grade or repeat certain subjects. However, there is no ‘one size that fits all’. Hard work is needed. I urge learners who are determined to achieve better marks to put their words into action. 

Note that one should not be set on a particular tertiary institution, whether it is a university, university of technology, college, or private training institution. While research has shown that people with degrees usually find employment more easily and earn a higher salary than their counterparts, going to university is not the end all and be all. One should not underestimate the value of non-university study. Each study discipline and tertiary training institution should be rated on its own merit. A diploma in e.g. IT or in film studies or a technical qualification in wind turbine service (to name but a few examples) can suit you as a person, but also be enriching. 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. 

Lastly: If needs be, if at all possible, please consult a counsellor for career counselling. 

What if learners achieve a Grade 12 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 or redo certain subjects. 

If you decide to re-apply during the coming year, take a gap year (only after you have consulted others that have taken a gap year previously, though. before you make up your mind!), work-part-time, or find 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. Here is one example that you might find useful. A student wanted to study medicine but his marks were not good enough. He did not even take Mathematics or Physical Sciences at school. After completing Grade 12, he registered for Mathematics and Physical Sciences at a post-school training institution. Next, he enrolled for a general degree at a university. After achieving excellent outcomes, he gained admission to study medicine. He now is a fourth-year medical student. The truth is: There are different routes to a career. 

For me, over time, learners’ Grade 12 subject symbols will mean very little. Learners should ask themselves what their short-, medium-, and long-term aims are and decide why they are studying; what their end goal is. This surely cannot be to please your family or to outachieve (beat) others. Instead, focus on becoming the best possible version of yourself rather than merely trying to be ‘better’ than someone else. Competing with others serves no purpose. 

All the very best. I assure you that, irrespective of how well you have or have not achieved in your Grade 12 exams, it is very possible to become employable, find work that will enable you to live a meaningful, purposeful, and hope-filled life in which you enact your key life themes and make substantial social contributions. 

For information on bursaries, how to study as well as relax, visit my website at www.kobusmaree.org.

22 February 2021

Tips for Parents on how to deal with the Grade 12 Outcomes 

by Prof Kobus Maree

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Podcasts and Downloads

For parents...What if learners do not achieve the marks required for university admission?

So, the Grade 12 exam results have been released. And while many students are elated, some are not. If a parent feels disappointed when her child is less successful, focusing on what might have been serves little purpose. Of course you must not give up hope. It is not the end of the world.

Here are a few tips. 

  • First: Congratulate your child. She or he has had to deal with many challenges in 2020. Salute them for their resilience. And also salute yourself.
  • 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.
  • Assure your child that this has been just one exam, one transition, and give them hope. Many people do not achieve sufficient marks for their purposes in their Grade 12 exams but go on to be extremely successful in later life. And please note that I do not use the word “fail” here … that negative and meaningless term word has no place in any society. Nobody has ever ‘failed’ any grade or anything else. Instead, we all achieve insufficient results from a certain perspective and in regard to a specific aim.
  • Talking negatively and blaming learners serve no purpose. Be positive and inspiring. Normalise the experience: We all are unsuccessful from time to time. And we all move on and work hard to attain the outcomes we need.
  • If your child acts out and makes you feel miserable, this should be considered ‘normal’ under the circumstances. Do not blame yourself. What has happened does not make you a bad person or a failure.
  • Seek the help of an educational or counselling psychologist if you fear your child is suicidal. Be concerned if, for instance, he or she stops talking, cuts himself or herself off from family and friends, and seems depressed. Suicide in South Africa is on the increase as learners could believe that they have ‘failed’ or have let others and themselves down. Consult a counsellor, phone the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, Life Line, or one of the suicide hotlines.

For me, over time, learners’ Grade 12 subject symbols will mean very little. Help to clarify what their short-, medium-, and long-term aims are and decide why they are studying; what their end goal is. This surely cannot be to please their  family or to outachieve (beat) others. Instead, help them focus on becoming the best possible version of themselves rather than merely trying to be ‘better’ than someone else. Competing with others serves no purpose.

Irrespective of how well your child has or has not achieved in their Grade 12 exams, it is of course possible to become employable, find work that will enable her to live a meaningful, purposeful, and hope-filled life in which she or he enacts their key life themes and make substantial social contributions.

For information on bursaries, how to study as well as relax, visit my website at www.kobusmaree.org.

 

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