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DEBATES and discussions abound about the dismal matric pass rate and our children continue to suffer the consequences of a system that is failing them.

DEBATES and discussions abound about the dismal matric pass rate and our children continue to suffer the consequences of a system that is failing them.

Year in and year out intellectual and political debates continue over how the situation could improve. But there seems to be a total absence of discussion on the bleak future of pupils who fail matric and join other unemployed and unemployable youths.

While politicians ponder the best policy to adopt to "fix" the system, young people's desperation continues to deepen with the realisation that opportunities are sorely limited if they do not pass.

The girl from Emndeni who ended her life serves to emphasise this point.

While there will always be a push to increase the number of matriculants, the system "forces" our young people to focus on only one aspect of education in order to succeed - formal education. It does not encourage other forms of education as a means to be equally if not more successful than those with a formal education.

It is well known that the system is beset with challenges that relate to pupil and educator apathy and ability - pupils who just do not want to be formally educated and teachers who do not want to teach them.

This problem is not addressed and, regrettably, though an increase in the number of successful matriculants can be achieved, the quality of the results remain an issue. We should ensure that while the system is revised, again, other aspects of education such as entrepreneurship are incorporated into the new curriculum.

Statistics confirm that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship build and sustain economies and the associated skills possessed by those involved are critical, whether one is self or formally employed.

Linda McClure, Junior Achievement South Africa, Johannesburg

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