There has been a trend over the last years that homeschooling parents are moving away from the South African matric (National Senior Certificate or NSC), and prefer an international matric such as Cambridge or GED/SATS, due to the high costs and the large amount of effort required to get an NSC through home education. This trend is potentially affecting the business of curriculum suppliers that offer the NSC to homeschoolers.
A homeschooling parent has reported on the tuisonderwys mailing list that a curriculum supplier is spreading a rumour that South African universities will be limiting admission of learners that have international matric qualifications. She reports : “I was informed by a curriculum provider [who also caters for the NSC] that South African Universities could lose their state subsidy if they accept more than 10% students with “foreign matric” qualifications i.e. GED-SAT; A-Levels in CIE. According to them SA home school students not planning to study abroad should reconsider going for a “foreign matric qualification” for this reason.”
Leendert van Oostrum from the Pestalozzi Trust reacted to these rumours as follows:
“Yes, I have also heard those rumours. I have not taken them seriously, but they are becoming more frequent. Because, as you said, this one comes from a curriculum provider who has an interest in spreading a rumour such as that.
I have not taken these rumours seriously, for the following reasons:
- It is reasonable to limit the number of foreign nationals (and even foreign residents) who study at state subsidised institutions in South Africa. Most countries do that. The reason is that government should limit spending of state revenues on persons who have not contributed to those revenues by paying taxes.
- It is not reasonable to extend such a limitation to South African residents who have contributed to those revenues from birth. SARS probably does not see it that way in terms of its technical defenitions, but in reality a one day old baby can be considered a tax payer, paying 14% tax on his first disposable nappy. In practice, the tax on those nappies - and everything else - should come back to him in the form of services including university education.
- Conversely, there are a number of residents and citizens of foreign countries, mainly neighbouring countries and the Middle Eastern oil states, who write the South African NSS every year. If the rumour is correct and complete, it would mean that such applicants would be eligible to be included in the quota of subsidised South African students, and use tax payer's money.
- In addition, such a restriction would militate against the students right to education and his right to equality, as well as against the university's right to academic freedom (which includes the right to choose its students).
I suspect, therefore, that there is indeed a limitation on foreign RESIDENTS, but not on foreign QUALIFICATIONS, and that people who have an interest in selling the rubbish South African matric may misread the document slightly to their advantage. It is also possible that admission staff at some universities misread such a document. And education officials are notorious for misreading and often misrepresenting almost anything but especially laws and policies.
What I can say is this: If any member of the Pestalozzi Trust who is in possession of a "foreign" qualification is refused entry into a university on the excuse that the quota for foreign students is full, the Trust will challenge such a decision, regulation or law, in court if necessary.”
Homeschooling parents that are misled by such rumours can make the wrong decision on the matric options for their child and it can cost them tens of thousands of rands and years of frustration. To avoid this, parents should be part of the homeschooling community and join websites and forums that are not associated with any specific curriculum or homeschooling approach. Before parents make a decision on matric, they should consider all options. The sahomeschoolers.org website provides a description of all the options through which homelearners can obtain a matric. Join the website and download the article for free.