Most matrics won't find jobs - union
Johannesburg - Six out of ten matriculants will not find jobs, trade union Solidarity said on Tuesday.
"(They) will probably become part of the grim unemployment statistics of South Africa," the union's deputy general secretary of Solidarity Dirk Hermann said in a statement.
The union attributed this to the education system failing to prepare pupils for the labour market.
"What is more, the pass rate of subjects like mathematics, accounting and physical sciences that contribute to employability is extremely poor.
"Although the pass rate of home language subjects and Life Orientation is very good, these types of subjects do not really equip pupils with marketable skills," said Hermann.
The union's research shows that out of more than 552 000 pupils who wrote the matric exam in 2009, only 61% passed. Only 24% of them passed mathematics with a mark of 30% or higher.
Under 10% of matrics passed mathematics with a mark of 50% or higher and a mere 1.6 percent obtained a distinction in the subject.
He said a matric certificate alone does not offer job seekers a real advantage as an average pass mark for a matriculant is 30%.
"You do an 18-year-old an injustice by telling him he is ready for further study or skilled work on the basis of a cut-off mark of 30%.
"Matriculants gets a pat on the pack for making the department of education's statistics look good through their participation in a system of mediocrity, while the 12 years they spent in school did not prepare them for a career," said Hermann.
Further education after matric offers the best chance for pupils to avoid unemployment.
"Tertiary qualifications offer employees a degree of protection and job security in difficult times. Although having a matric certificate is better than having no qualification whatsoever, it does not guarantee job security."
He said data on the 2007 labour market found that a university degree generally carried more weight than a diploma or other tertiary qualifications.
Qualifications in the medical, engineering, information technology, financial and technical fields were sought after due to a skills shortage.