Will A Grade 9 Certificate Be The New “Matric”?

Yes, a Grade 9 Certificate will be the new “Matric” and is something South Africa is heading towards.

The Department of Basic Education is working on a system that will help all students to complete subjects that meet their interests, abilities and aptitudes.

The Grade 9 year will become the year in which students decide which direction or “stream” they want to take. Students can decide on their future careers or further studies. 

Rather than moving to Grade 10, students can choose which stream they would like to enter, or they can enrol in a TVET college or distance learning college.

Is It True That School Ends At Grade 9 In South Africa

No, it is not true that school ends at Grade 9 in South Africa. However, school can end in Grade 9 for some students. How does this happen? It depends on the learner and which stream the learner chooses. Here are the different streams learners can choose from:

  • Academic Stream
  • Technical Occupational Stream
  • Technical Vocational Stream

Academic Stream

This is the traditional educational system in South Africa. This stream focuses on theory instead of practice. This stream prepares students for further studies at university or college.

Online Matric

Technical Occupational Stream

This stream prepares students to enter the workplace after they complete school. It is specifically meant for occupation.

Technical Vocational Stream

Students who choose this stream will be prepared for a technical college. The subjects that students focus on are technical subjects.

Here is an image that explains the different streams:

What Is A Grade 9 Certificate Called?

A Grade 9 Certificate is called a General Education Certificate (GEC). It is a qualification at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 1. The Grade 9 Equivalent Certificate is called the ABET: Level 4. South Africa’s educational system has three bands. This certificate falls under the first band of education.

Online Matric

What Are The Three Bands Of South African Education

The three bands are as follows:

  • General Education and Training
  • Further Education and Training
  • Higher Education and Training
Online Matric

General Education And Training


This is the first band of education, it is from Grade R to Grade 9. It also includes Adult Basic Education and Training.

Further Education And Training


The second band includes Grade 10 to Grade 12. In this band, students learn how to improve the skills learned in the first band. This will prepare students for tertiary education. The subject choices focus on the learner’s future career choices.

You can complete the traditional Matric or an Adult Matric course. Both will give you the opportunity to further your studies at a university. Remember that each university has its own requirements and each course in that university has its own requirements.

This means that you can gain entry to a university BUT not for a particular course because you have not achieved the mark for a particular subject or you do not have a particular subject required for that course.

Higher Education And Training


This is the last band and is what we know as tertiary education. In this band, students will either choose to do a Certificate, Higher Certificate, Diploma, Degree, Masters Degree or Doctorate.

There are many institutions in South Africa. These institutions include colleges, universities, distance learning institutions and many more.

Can I Do Matric With Grade 9?


Yes, you can do your Matric with a Grade 9 certificate. Grade 9 is one of the entry requirements for Matric College. However, you have to be 21 or older, to do the Adult Matric Programme. You can apply at the age of 19, but you must be 21 when you write the adult exams.

What Can You Do With Grade 9?


You have two options. Your first option is studying and your second option is working.

Option 1: Grade 9 Certificate Study Options


These are the courses you can apply for with a Grade 9 certificate.

Option 2: Grade 9 Certificate Jobs


You can do the following jobs with a Grade 9 certificate:

What Qualification Is Grade 9?

A Grade 9 qualification is an NQF Level 1.

NQF Levels Explained

The image from the Matric College website explains what the NQF levels look like:

Online Matric

What Standard Is Grade 9 In South Africa?


Grade 9 is what used to be called Standard 7 in South Africa. As seen in the image above, it is an NQF level 1. Grade 9 falls under the General and Education Training band and the purpose of this band is to equip learners with skills that will enable them to start working or to further their studies.

In the past, there were different standards, but the old National Senior Certificate had the same pass requirements in terms of marks. The only difference was that there were three internal levels. These levels are:

  1. Higher Grade
  2. Standard Grade
  3. Lower Grade (this level was a “technical stream”)

The old Senior Certificate included subject passes at these different levels. Standard 7, now commonly known as Grade 9 was the earliest school exit level. This was before we were introduced to the National Qualification Framework.

The different versions of pass levels in the old Senior Certificate allowed students to have many pass options suited to the learners’ ability.

What Is The School Leaving Certificate In South Africa Called?


The school leaving certificate in South Africa is called a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or Senior Certificate (Amended) for adult learners. It is commonly known as a Matric Certificate and the grade passed in the final year of school is called Grade 12. 

How Do I Choose My Subjects In Grade 9?


You choose your subjects according to:

  • What you are interested in
  • Subjects that you do well in
  • Subjects that match your personality
  • Most importantly, choose subjects that will keep your options open for when you further your studies

Tips On Choosing Subjects


Here are three tips that can help you choose the right subjects:

  • Talk to a career or school counselor
  • Get in contact with a professional in the career you wish to pursue
  • Job shadowing

How Can I Get My Matric Certificate Fast?


Here are the three ways you can get your matric certificate fast:

You Can Complete A Matric Upgrade Course In 3 Months


This course is for students who are unhappy with their matric marks. You can apply for this course three months before the exams. For example, if you register for the exam in January you can write the May/June exams.

Entry Requirements For The Matric Upgrade Course


  • Be 21 or older. You can apply when you are 19 BUT must be 21 or over when you write the exams.
  • Already have a Matric Certificate. This can be an incomplete Matric Certificate OR a failed Matric Certificate.
  • Study via distance learning
  • Study in English

Complete Your Adult Matric In 1 Year


Matric College offers an Adult Matric course you can complete in one year. You only need to write six subjects and out of these six subjects, you only have to pass 5 subjects.

You can also complete the course in:

  • Two years
  • Three years

Two Years


If you choose to complete the course in two years, you can split the subjects. You can complete three in one year and the other three in the next year.

Three Years


For busy students, you can complete two subjects in your first year, two subjects in your second year and three subjects in your final year.

The choice is yours. You can complete this course as many times as you like. There is no limit to the number of times you can complete this course.

Entry Requirements For Adult Matric


  • Be 21 or older. You can apply when you are 19 BUT must be 21 or older when you write the exams.
  • Study via distance learning
  • Study in English OR Afrikaans
  • Have a Grade 9 certificate OR
  • Have a Grade 9 equivalent certificate (ABET Level 4)

Combine Your Matric Results 4 – 8 Weeks


If you want to combine your Matric results it can take between 4 – 8 weeks BUT this may change. If you have written the supplementary exams, the Department of Basic Education will automatically combine your marks.

If you want to combine your marks as an adult, you can combine your marks BUT the combination will not be done automatically, you must apply.

The cost to combine your certificates is R141.00. These prices are only valid until the 31st of March 2022 and are subject to change.

How Do I Apply To Combine My Matric Marks?


  • Via Post
  • At Your Nearest Department of Basic Education (DBE) or Provincial Education Department (PED)

Should I Leave School In Grade 9?


This is a decision you should make based on the following two things:

  • Academic Abilities
  • Interests

Academic Abilities


If you are someone that does well in Science in school, for example, then you should complete a course within this field of studies. 

With good marks, you can become a Food Scientist or a Physical Science Teacher. In order for you to become a successful Food Scientist or Physical Science Teacher, you have to complete your high school career. This means that you cannot leave school in Grade 9.

If you have always wanted to work in Law Enforcement, Policing or Traffic Management, you can complete school until Grade 9. From here you can go to a TVET college where you can complete your NCV course. 

The above-mentioned course will specialise in your main “school” subjects such as English, Mathematics, Life Orientation BUT also subjects that will specialise in Law, Policing, Governance etc.

NCV courses are for people who only have a grade 9 certificate and want to further their education as well as complete Matric.



The traditional educational system in South Africa mainly focuses on the academic stream which does not allow students to complete subjects that meet their interests. This is one of the reasons why students choose to leave school after completing Grade 9, because the academic stream does not accommodate all students’ interests.

If you are not interested in the academic stream you can complete different streams like the vocational-technical stream OR the vocational occupation stream.

The decision is yours to make. Always make a decision based on your interest and abilities as these are factors that will make you successful in the career you choose.

Author: Jesmé Africa
Editor: Amy Venter
Date Published: February 14, 2022

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