The saying “don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today” has never been more apt for this year’s Grade 11s, as Covid-19, the lockdowns and their impact on education have shown. While many learners wait until their final year of school to put in the hard work, Grade 11 results can make an important impact on the future options of learners, an education expert says.
“This has been a tremendously disruptive year for all learners, and in particular for Matrics,” says Nola Payne, Head of Faculty: Information and Communications Technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
“Yet while most of the attention was focused on Grade 12s to ensure they can complete their last year of school and continue their educational journey thereafter, Grade 11 is a very important year – usually a year considered intrinsically linked to the final year of school – and these learners should attempt to do as well as possible during these last few months,” she says.
Payne says it may be tempting to wait until next year to get back in the swing of things, particularly now after an unprecedentedly hard and tumultuous 7 months, but that it should be kept in mind that there is no guarantee that everything will just go back to the pre-pandemic normal as the clock strikes 12 on December 31.
“Therefore Grade 11 learners must use their time optimally, and put in the hard work with dedication so that they can enter 2021 from a position of strength… And also to hedge against any other unforeseen disruptions that may in future impact their educational journey – whether they be personal or external,” she says.
Payne says that doing well in Grade 11 serves as a kind of insurance for the future because many higher education institutions will make provisional offers based on a learner’s performance in this year.
“Therefore, if you put in the work now, you will have something to fall back on next year if needed, even if only because you didn’t perform to the best of your ability in Matric,” she says.
“There is still enough time left this year for you to counteract some of the impact the past year’s disruption had on your education and, indeed, to dramatically improve your academic performance.”
In addition to having good marks to fall back on in Matric, performing well in Grade 11 also means that learners can apply to their higher education institution earlier in their Matric year, which takes at least one weight off their shoulders for the remaining part of Grade 12.
“As things stand, the academic year for 2021 will already look different from previous years because of the delay in the release of Matric results and the later than usual start date of universities. With many logistics still needing ironing out across the board, having a solid bird in hand by way of Grade 11 results will only make these prepared learners’ road smoother down the line,” Payne says.
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