‘’I before N’’ – how delayed matric results sideline working class students

The day of the release of matric results is the happiest of all matriculants but for the public school students it might just be too late for most of them in Ngodini High School.

As much as this day decides their fate on whether they qualify for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) it also leaves them anxious on whether they will get admitted to universities.

Just a year ago, 17-year old candidate Simlindile Mnguni wouldn’t understand why students who write the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) were getting the first preference in terms of admissions in institutions of higher learning.

That was because their results are released earlier.

She applied for her qualification while she was still in matric and was placed on a waiting list as the university was awaiting for her final results which she’d only get two days after the IEB students.

‘’University spaces are allocated to those who apply and meet the requirements first therefore the two day period between IEB and general results is very fundamental,’’ said Mnguni.

She also said that by the time the public school students get their results, the IEB students are already receiving their final acceptance e-mails. She said the release time plays a huge role.

Mnguni also highlighted that some may argue that the different release dates don’t have any impact but they must also keep in mind that an IEB student who didn’t receive provisional  acceptance  can be admitted over an NSC student all because their results were released before.

‘’The earlier the IEB students occupy spaces of their first choice courses, the more the chances that we the NSC students don’t get admissions or are referred to our second choice courses.”

“The bottom line to all of this is that there is no logic around the exclusive nature of the IEB system apart from entrenching class privilege.” she said.

Students that register for the NSC are mainly from the working and poor families, whilst those who register for the IEB, are largely from wealthier families.

The issue of the releasing matric results in different days, has been making waves on social media. With many arguing that it is not about applying in time, but the final acceptance. Students all get to apply in time but their applications are not considered at the same time.

The spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education Elijah Mhlanga disputed Mnguni’s statement.

He said that Government funding for university students has nothing to do with the timing of the release of results.

“A large majority of young people go through with the admission process without being compromised by the release date. Remember, IEB students are 11,000 compared to 700,000 candidates in the DBE system.”

“The universities access the results at the same time. There only difference is in public release of results which is different to the access given to universities. Also, universities accept candidates based on their grade 11 results. Most learners tell us they have been accepted based on their current academic status,” said Mhlanga.

In 2019, when Mnguni failed to access the institution that she had initially applied to, she ended up enrolling at a private college as her parents wouldn’t let her stay home and do nothing.

“This alone brought a lot more expenses to my family as they are meant to pay for the fees, books, accommodation and food because NSFAS doesn’t fund private institutions. I’m returning for my second and final year this year I can’t help but hope that I get credited for the modules I’m doing this year, which is unlikely, so I’m among those that will be admitted to Universities in 2021,” she said with her eyes filling up with tears.

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