What is the Real Value of a Matric Certificate
December 5, 2017
By Dr Lieb Liebenberg

It is that time of the year again, where the exams are done and peace has returned to homes. With many matrics already having left for the beach with their friends for a much anticipated holiday, parents probably have two wishes:

  • they get there and back again safely
  • but even more so that they have done enough to pass their matric – because those results will shape their future…

Despite all the fun they will be having, most of the matrics will also have the 5th of January 2018 in mind as this is the date which their final school marks will be published. As is usually the case, there will be quite a build-up in the media beforehand and once the results are out it will be accompanied by the usual glut of articles on who achieved the highest marks, the most distinctions, the most successful schools by the sheer volume of distinctions, etc, etc, etc.

The most anticipated results of your 12 years of schooling

How much value should one really attach to your matric certificate? Perhaps the best answer to this is: “just as much as is absolutely necessary – but nothing more”.  On the necessity side is the fact that it is critically important for admission to universities and colleges and in that sense, your matric results may be the most important marks you ever receive. Your matric certificate is the one document you can never quite get away from because it is required each time you apply for a job. So in that sense, there is no debate – just ask the thousands of parents who are perhaps waiting even more anxiously for the 5th of January 2018. After 12 years of waiting for exam results – this is the most anticipated.

But that is actually as far as it should go – because in terms of what you will remember for the rest of your life and what you will achieve (or perhaps better said, could achieve) your matric results should play absolutely no role. In fact, it should never be taken as a measure of who you are and what you are capable of achieving during the rest of your life. For one, it basically only measures how well you can write exams given a context where you have been drilled and trained to do so for the majority of your matric year (mock exams, mid-year exams, record exam, more practice exams, final exam) as has been the case also for most of your life (given a typical school scenario).