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24-hour helpline set up for depressed matriculants

Social Development has set up a 24-hour hotline that parents & matriculants can call if they need help.

FILE: A pupil holds their matric report card. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Matriculants are being advised to seek help if they're depressed or suicidal over their results today, with the Social Development Department reminding parents to make use of 24-hour social workers on duty.

Last night, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the class of 2015 achieved a pass rate of 70.7 percent, that's a five percent drop compared to the previous year.

The department has set up a 24-hour hot line that parents and matriculants can call if they need help processing potentially disappointing results today.

Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said the hotline allows parents and matrics to seek help.

"They can phone at any time. We've got social workers on standby that they can speak to, they don't even have to have airtime, don't even have to tell us where they are. We're able to even locate where they are in case some of them need assistance quickly."

Clinical psychologist Eddie Wolf meanwhile says parents need to allow pupils who have failed the chance to express their sadness and anger, while providing a sense of realistic hope.

"They must acknowledge how they feel and then support them and let them know that there are alternatives like doing it over again or giving them other options. They must instill a sense of real hope.

Meanwhile, a Cape Town principal has urged matriculants who weren't successful, not to lose hope.

Principal of Bernadino Heights High School in Kraaifontein, Henry Alexander, said those who failed still have a chance.

"To those who won't get the results that they hoped for, they must remember it's not the end of the world. There's a second chance plan that the Education Department has in place. If they really are distressed, they should immediately seek professional help."

Motshekga will be launching a campaign today called 'second chance' to encourage those who failed to re-register.

But the Independent Institute of Education's (IIE) Felicity Coughlan said she's concerned about who will benefit from this.

"It's going to be really tough for people in rural areas to begin to access that level of support. I've had a look at what's on the website and unfortunately it's seem to focus only those students who qualified for supplementary results."

WHAT NEXT?

The IIE says bad results are not the end of the road and that there are still many options to get back on track.

The institute's Nola Payne says a degree entry status can still be achieved with the option of a rewrite or by pursuing a higher certificate.

"The way it's been designed is that you can do a higher certificate, it's a year-long course and after you have been successful with a higher certificate you can articulate into a degree. It's the best option and often many university's report that students who have pursued a higher certificate first are more successful in their degree studies than those who come straight out for school."

Payne says parents should ensure they positively support learners during this time.

"It's no use coming down hard on a child about their results. You have got to look at it in a positive light and say 'ok this is what's happened, let's look forward'. They need to help them weigh up their various options."

OTHER OPTIONS INCLUDE:

WRITING SUPPLEMENTARY EXAMS

Not everyone will qualify for supplementary exams, but if you do, you should register and do you very best to pass. Pupils are encouraged to check with their school whether they qualify and then go all-out to ensuring that they spend as much time as possible behind buried in their books.

REPEATING THE YEAR

Having another go at matric is not a happy prospect for anyone who has just been through the mill, but it could be an exciting second chance if you go about it differently the second time round. For instance, you might choose to do some part-time work while being enrolled in a distance learning course, or you could choose to attend a different institution that specialises in rewriting. Some institutions will even allow you to change your subjects.

ENROLLING AT A DIFFERENT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION

South Africa has only one quality assurance system, which means that private institutions and public universities are subjected to the same registration and accreditation checks and balances. So if your marks mean that you pass but are not able to go to your institution of first choice, have a look around. There are some fantastic and often more work-oriented options available out there that you might not even have considered.

CHOOSING A DIFFERENT COURSE

Perhaps a higher certificate is the stepping stone you need to be accepted into the course of your choice. Or perhaps there is a completely different direction which you can tackle, one that you were not aware of before. Again, do your research and do it thoroughly. Speak to the people in the industry you want to enter, and have a look around to see which institutions produce industry leaders. Today there are courses that didn't even exist two years ago. Are you aware of these? If not, you have some pleasantly surprising research to do.

ELECTING TO KEEP GOING EVEN IF THINGS ARE NOT YET CLEAR

Another cliché which continues to exist because it is true, is that it does not matter how many times you fall - it matters only how many times you stand up. This is painful and disappointing, but it is only a catastrophe if you don't stand up and face it. This can be no more than a temporary setback and can in fact be a character and strength-building exercise. Do not let the year go to waste. If fulltime study or a return to school feels like too much to ask or you do not have the funds to do this, then at least enrol for a short course which can keep you growing and in the habit of learning. Sometimes all that is needed is one or two small successes to realise that you are more than capable. Everyone fails sometimes. Successful people learn from their failures.

Click here to _ visit EWN's matric portal_ to view the results.

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