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NAVIGATING THE MINEFIELD OF CHOOSING SUBJECTS IN GRADE 9

choosing subjects

This is the time of year when the schools start urging grade 9s to select their subjects for grades 10-12.  It is important that this does not become confused with career choice, but it often does.  Your grade 9 is not yet mature enough to make long term career choices.  So, what are the principles upon which one chooses subjects?

  1. Keep as many options open as possible.  This often means choosing Science but, if your child is weak in Maths, he is unlikely to manage  grades 11 and 12 Science and is unlikely to want to use it in a career as tertiary study in the sciences would then be very difficult for him.  Remember, too, that an interest in Commerce does not mean that one has to take business-orientated subjects like Accounting and Economics for matric. One just needs very good Maths.
  1.  If possible, take a science subject.  If not Physical Science then Life Science.  Many doors are closed if one has neither of the natural sciences for matric.
  1. Take a subject just because one likes it.  Not every subject has to have some great long term career value.  Everyone needs to have a subject where they find pleasure.  School is not just about “training” it is about a broad-based education.  A subject like art, design, consumer studies, history,  tourism, or EGD does not have to translate into a career path.  It can be a source of pleasure and personal enrichment .
  1.  Remember the points.  The tertiary institutions set a benchmark aggregate to gain entrance.  Encourage your child to include a subject where he has enough interest and ability to do well and thus to raise his aggregate.  Subjects that are not on the designated list can happily be included ( eg tourism , CAT, hospitality ) and provided that he still has the required number from the designated list, will not hamper his getting a degree pass.  In addition, by raising his aggregate it could help him to get into university or university of technology .

Remember, too, that there are allocated dates given to the schools by which learners can change a subject.  If, but the end of grade 10, your child is battling with a subject or really doesn’t enjoy it, he can change to something else provided that he does not choose a subject that would have required its foundation in grade 10.  Eg He could start Geography in grade 11 without redoing grade 10 work, but could not pick up Accounting without studying what he had missed in grade 10.  The schools would advise him on this matter.

I wish you well as you work through these pointers with your child.

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