Eastern Cape matric pupils who fail this year will not be allowed back at school, education officials told Herald Online.
The decision was made because of the new curriculum which will be introduced in grade 12 classes from next year and which differs substantially from the current curriculum.
Instead, those who fail will have to pass their supplementary exams or attend night school or private classes if they want to finish high school.
The Education Department introduced the new system to grade 8 pupils throughout the country in 2004.
Those pupils progressed with it to grade 9 in 2005, grade 10 last year, and are now in grade 11.
Provincial education spokesman Loyiso Pulumani said this year's grade 12 pupils had until 2011 to complete matric under the current curriculum. But this would have to be done at a private education centre or at night school, because grade 12 pupils who failed this year would not be admitted back to school next year.
"It will be difficult for grade 12 pupils who do the old curriculum this year to be absorbed into the new curriculum next year," Pulumani said.
"The department will consider encouraging pupils to learn at private candidate centres or attend night school."
The new curriculum will also be a blow to pupils who failed grade 11 last year. They will have to be absorbed into the new curriculum, which requires maths literacy and life-orientation subjects, this year. Neither of these subjects was offered at grade 11 level last year.
Several school principals and unions have called on the Education Department to provide an alternative to the new curriculum which compels all pupils to do the new subjects.
Pulumani said the department would make an announcement today. - Sapa