I didn't achieve a bachelor’s pass. What are my options now?

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"We know that every year around this time, many matriculants are anxious following the release of their results..."  (Getty Images)
"We know that every year around this time, many matriculants are anxious following the release of their results..." (Getty Images)

Of the more than 700 000 full-time pupils who sat during the 2021 matric exam, 25.2% earned a diploma pass, 14.8% a higher certificate pass, and 36.4% obtained a bachelor’s pass.   

Previously known as an exemption, a bachelor's pass is the required pass level for studying towards a university degree.

Still, the study options available to those who have not achieved a bachelor's pass are vast. 

This includes either rewriting their matric exams during the 2022 NSC June supplementary exams, attending a higher education institution or seeking support from free government-run initiatives (scroll further below for details). 

Pupils interested in Arts & Design, Commerce, Administration & Management, Education or Law may find this route a perfect fit for their career goals. 

Also read: What do I do about my disappointing matric results?

'Many matriculants are anxious following the release of their results'

"We know that every year around this time, many matriculants are anxious following the release of their results or about not getting a bachelor's pass... [but] matriculants should be made aware of the many options available," says Dr Divya Singh, Chief Academic Officer at Stadio, a local private higher education provider. 

With so many higher education providers to choose from, Dr Singh recommends that parents and pupils take a well-researched approach when selecting a suitable institution. 

"Learners will get a good idea on student matters when they visit the institution's website, media articles and online reviews. Look at their approach to learning on and off-campus, as well as their efforts to get their students ready for their careers after studying. The last couple of years have taught us that institutions need to be adaptable," adds Singh. 

Here's a look at Dr Singh's recommendations for finding the best higher education institute that will suit your child's needs. 

1. Is it accredited? 

Check whether the institution of your choice is registered with the Department of Education. This is important, especially when you start looking for employment. Whether public or private, accredited institutions adhere to specific rules and standards. These rules and standards will ensure you receive a high-quality education.

Scroll through this list when researching whether an institution is accredited: Tertiary institutions in South Africa. You can also visit Dhet.gov.za

2. Is the course you are interested in on offer? 

Check the institution's website and look at the qualifications they offer. Take advantage of any student advice services provided to get a better idea of the subjects and what you can expect during lessons, both on and off-campus.  

3. Do they prepare you for the world of work?

Higher education students want a fulfilling career after they graduate. Assess how the institution will help prepare you for the world of work.

Also read: Can I rewrite my matric exams? All you need to know about the 2022 NSC June supplementary exams

Free support and training initiatives for post-matric youth

"There are different post-school opportunities, and these need to be understood," Khanyisile Cele said during a recently held webinar on post-matric opportunities hosted by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). 

Cele, who is from the Department of Higher Education and Training's Career Development Service, further encouraged the class of 2021 to make decisions "based on information and guidance that they get from people like us as career development practitioners". 

Cele was one of several speakers at the virtual event, highlighting numerous free support and training initiatives for post-matric youth. 

Here's a look at the many options and organisations mentioned during the webinar. 

The Second Chance Programme 

"We are targeting two types of young people/adults. Those who wrote and failed hopelessly and want to give up as well as those who did not perform to their expectations and want to improve their marks," said Dr Sandy Malapile, manager of the Second Chance Programme. 

According to Dr Malapile, the programme assists candidates via face-to-face centres located nationally, study guides, video and audio lessons, online programmes, and television and radio broadcasts. 

To register, a candidate will need their matric certificate and a certified copy of their ID. Registrations take place via: 

For enquiries: 

The Central Application Clearing House (CACH)

Matthews Makgopela from the Department of Higher Education and Training shared details on the Central Application Clearing House (CACH). The initiative assists with placement at higher education institutions, including universities, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and the sector education and training authorities (SETAs). 

To apply, a post-matric youth would provide CACH with their aspiring career direction and their contact details. CACH would then make these details accessible to higher education institutions which would then contact eligible applicants with potential opportunities for study or learnerships.

"Our role is purely on applications; we don't, in any way influence admissions," he said. 

For more: 

  • Visit Cach.dhet.gov.za
  • Contact CACH on 0800 356 635 (from January to February between 8h00 and 20h00) 
  • SMS your name and ID number to 49200.

Africa Beyond 4IR (AB4IR) 

Kele Molopyane from AB4IR shared details on the non-profit company based at the Tshwane South TVET College in Mabopane, Pretoria. 

"We are a business incubator, a digital hub... created to help with the digital divide... and the gender divide," Molopyane said, adding that AB4IR programmes are specifically aimed at disadvantaged communities. 

AB4IR assists with business development, mentorship, and coaching in the digital space. 

"There is so much that can be done; you are not limited to just having to go to a university... But when you don't know what you don't know, it's a problem". 

Visit Ab4ir.org for more details on how to get involved. 

The National Empowerment Fund

"We are part of the Department of Trade and Industry and Compensation... ran under the National Empowerment Act, and our mission is to be a driver and facilitator of funding businesses," said Mpume Majola, the Pre-investment Manager of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF). 

Explaining how the NEF supports post-matric youth, Majola said that the organisation provides entrepreneurial training, financial skills training, and mentorship in addition to funding. 

To apply: 


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