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ADULT MATRIC (NSC Amended Senior Certificate)

Homeschool learners who follow their interest or work on their business up to a later age consider the adult matric. They choose between either the American Adult Matric called the GED or the South African Adult Matric (NSC Amended Senior Certificate.)

Anyone in South Africa who is 21 years of age and older can obtain a South African adult matric completely free of charge through the Department of Basic Education (DBE). They can study on their own, or enrol in an Adult Matric course at an adult learning centre (ABET). (visit the ABET website for centres in your area.)

TVET colleges, as well as private distance learning colleges, also offers the adult matric with online support, classes and tutoring. Each of these colleges has its own fees.

Who chooses this option?

Adult Matric is aimed at people from all walks of life who desire to get their matric certification, or better their previously written matric marks, or just need certain subjects. Provided they meet the requirements of USAf (Universities South Africa), this adult matric may even offer them admission to a university. (JUST check what the entrance criteria is for the University course you want to study, before you select your subjects.)

What are the requirements?

You must be 21 years of age or older.

Any one of the following three qualifications will give you admission to this exam:

  • A Grade 9 report stating you have passed grade 9.
  • General Education and Training Certificate. It is a standardized exam that students take at the end of Grade 9. This is typically done by children who want to leave school at that age.
  • Any other equivalent and recognized qualification that includes at least two official languages.

* ABET centres offer grade 9 but you can also contact a curriculum provider who offers CAPS grade 9.

How do I register?

You can register for the exam online on the DBE website (information under the curriculum menu on the website) or visit any DBE district office. The exams are written in May/June. Registration opens by mid-October and closes on the 31st of January.

How do I prepare for the exam?

The list of 35 subjects, learners can choose from appears on the DBE website. The department suggests that learners start preparation on time and remind learners that it is actually a year programme if done full time. Learners can also study part time and write the exam over a longer period.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has made available an Examination Guideline, which provides a framework on the structure and format of the examination. You will need to use CAPS textbooks to prepare for the exam. Exemplar question papers based on CAPS are also available on the DBE website.

Textbooks can be purchased online or at bookstores or borrowed from a local high school to save costs.


If you make use of an ABET centre there is just a small registration fee payable. Some colleges that offer support and classes charge R2700 per subject but there are cheaper and more expensive options available.

What do I need to pass the exam?

You must pass six subjects, two of which must be official languages. Here is the minimum required:

  • Three subjects at least 40%, one of them must be one of the official languages and you must take it at home language level.
  • Two subjects at least 30%, one of them must still be an official language, which you must take at second language level.
  • Subminimum of 20% in the sixth subject.

Where do I write the exams?

The exams are written at certain examination centres of the Provincial Education Departments. These are mostly schools, but there are also some independent assessment bodies accredited by Umalusi that can take down exams. Instructions on examination centres will be provided by the DBE.

For more information visit the website of the Department of Basic Education and choose the curriculum option on the menu.

TECHNICAL MATRIC  (NATED) - Phased out in 2021

This option is ideal for homeschool learners who are technically inclined. If they do not want to follow the academic matric route in their home education , and rather work in a technical field, then a Technical Matric is an option to look into. The N3 Technical Matric can be completed at any stage of their lives, full-time, part-time or from home via distance learning. This option will allow them to study while they are working and will build their skill set specifically for the technical job they are in.

Where can I study?

The N courses or NATED / Report 191 programmes are delivered under the auspices of the Department of Higher Education and Training and quality assured by Umalusi. These programmes can be followed at public or private institutions like TVET colleges, NTek, Oxbridge Academy, Soltek etc.

How long does it take?

Each N-level can be completed in about ten weeks. The N-levels have at least four subjects. Examples of subjects that are offered on N-level are Maths, Engineering Science, Engineering Drawings and trade specific subjects like Motor mechanical theory, Electrical trade theory etc.

After completion of the theory the student complete a 113 week or 2 year practical apprentice training. Thereafter a student writes a trade test and become a qualified artisan.


To obtain an Umalusi technical matric certificate via this route, the candidate must pass four N3 subjects as well as Business Afrikaans and Business English. Unfortunately these language subjects are being phased out and a limited number of institutes still offer these language subjects. One of these institutes is Technicol SA http://www.technicolsa.co.za/

Minimum requirements for a trade test?

Students need to complete the compulsory theoretical subjects before they can do a trade test. These include N2 Mathematics, N2 Engineering Science, N2 Trade Theory subject and related N2 Trade Theory subject of their choice.

There is also a compulsory practical training component of 113 weeks. This training must be accompanied by a SETA registration and SETA log book.

All apprentice training and trade test qualification is done under the control of the Department of Labour and not by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The minimum requirement is a N2 qualification.

How much does it cost?

Costs vary depending if it is a private or public college. At some TVET colleges it costs around R800 per subject while some private institutions charge R1600 per subject. Technicol charges R2500 per subject (including exams) for Business Afrikaans and Business English as well as other technical subjects.

Advantages of a technical matric

  • It can be done in Afrikaans or English
  • It is affordable and can be completed in stages.
  • Students can study while they work.
  • An academic matric can get you into university, while a technical matric might not. A technical matric can, however, open up many opportunities in terms of jobs and further studies at N4 - N6 level as well as studies at Universities of Technology.

Disadvantages of a technical matric

  • Difficult to obtain an Umalusi matric certificate which is the known certificate in the industry with regards to job and tertiary study application.
  • Might not get access to tertiary institutes without language subjects.



This is a national senior certificate equivalent which requires a 3 year full time study at a FET or TVET college. Although the Umalusi directive mention part time studies none of the above mentioned colleges offer the NC(V) part time.

The National Certificate Vocational or NC(V) programmes are delivered under the auspices of the Department of Higher Education and Training and quality assured by Umalusi.

The National Certificate Vocational or NC(V) is a technical qualification and an alternative option to an academic Matric certificate. It is equivalent to a matric certificate but the student develops practical skills and knowledge of the workplace in a simulated environment or in a real workplace.

Once they have completed their National Certificate Vocational they can become a qualified artisan by doing a 3-5 year apprenticeship and afterwards write and pass the trade test. They can also look for a job after completion of the vocational matric or apply to a university or college to do a;

Higher Certificate programme at NQF level 5

National Diploma at NQF level 6

Bachelor’s Degree at level 7

What are the Requirements for a National Certificate: Vocational?

The minimum requirements to study a National Certificate (V) are any ONE of the following:

  • Grade 9.
  • Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) certificate.
  • Recognised NQF1 qualification.
  • Bridging programme.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme, that meets the requirements for studying an NQF Level 2 programme.

What is the NQF Level of a National Certificate: Vocational?

The NQF level of your National Certificate Vocational depends on which year of your studies you are in.

  • Year 1 – NQF 2
  • Year 2 – NQF 3
  • Year 3 – NQF 4

Your final qualification will be an NQF 4 qualification which is on the same level as a National Senior Certificate.

Where do I study?

The NS (V) are offered full time at Tvet and FET colleges. To obtain the Matric equivalent certificate you will have to complete 3 years full-time. There are 3 NC(V) levels and each level takes 1 year to complete. You will receive a certificate after every level.

What can you study?

Students need to choose 7 subjects from a subject list. Below are some of the vocational fields options. (each field has sub-field subjects)

  • Agriculture and Nature Conservation
  • Culture and Art
  • Business, Commerce and Management
  • Communication
  • Education, Training and Development
  • Human and social studies
  • Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology,Civil Engineering and Building Construction
  • Law and Military Science
  • Health Science and Social Services
  • Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Science
  • Services
  • Physical Planning and Construction

To pass a learner must achieve 40% in an official language, 30% in Maths or Math literacy, 40% in Life Orientation and 50% in four Vocational subjects (sub-fields listed above)

Internal assessment counts for 25% of the mark and external assessment 75%.

For more information follow this link: https://www.umalusi.org.za/docs/directives/2013/directives_ncv.pdf


The American High School Diploma is the standard qualification for the completion of High School in the USA. This matric option is extremely flexible and well suited to the homeschooling family. It can be used with as much freedom or structure as the family chooses a home education approach.

The American High School diploma offers a wide variety of subjects. There are many quality study materials available, some free, others for a subscription fee. Families can also choose material which aligned with their worldview and children's learning styles.

If your homeschool learner wants to go to university, it is probably desirable to obtain an accredited Diploma. Numerous US and even local service providers offer formal accreditation, which will ensure that your child’s qualification meets university requirements.

For this qualification, your child must obtain exemption from USAf (Universities South Africa) https://mb.usaf.ac.za/. It’s best to start negotiating with the university of your choice early on. Several parents have already found out whether SA universities will accept such an accredited American High School diploma and have received confirmation for it.

Which subjects do I need?

There are different levels of the Diploma depending on the number and type of credits obtained.

The high academic 23+ Carnegie credit is the most academically thorough choice and ideal for those students who want to progress through to tertiary education. It comprises of advanced math and science classes that build high-level critical thinking skills that are the hallmark of a college prep diploma. Also extensive social studies and English classes that lead to comprehensive reading and writing skills complete the basics of the curriculum.

College prep students are also required to be proficient in a foreign language. Some providers offer the possibility of taking Afrikaans as an elective.To produce an academically advanced and well-rounded graduate students must also earn credits that focus on physical education, health and arts.

How to prepare

A wealth of service providers and subject materials are readily available to achieve success. Some homeschoolers make use of Career Online High School or Southern African Virtual school.

A support group is available at the Facebook group : Homeschooling in South Africa towards an American High School Diploma.


An extensive summary of this option is furthermore available at: The American High School Diploma as a SA school leaving certificate on this facebook group.

Matric exemption

To obtain a certificate of foreign conditional exemption from the Matriculation Board for an American Diploma, a candidate requires to fulfil one of three options:

  1. The High School Graduation Diploma accompanied by a certificate of eligibility for admission to study at any US university with a valid senior college accreditation issued by any of the following accreditation bodies: ACICS, DETC, MSA, NASC, NCA, NEASC - CIHE, SACS - CC, WASC – Sr;
  2. High School Graduation Diploma with at least two subjects passed on grade 3, 4 or 5 level for the Advanced Placement (AP) examinations of the American College Board;
  3. Candidates unable to submit letters of eligibility to study for degree purposes at an appropriately accredited US university must submit a SAT score of 1600 with a sub-minimum of 550 for Critical Reading and 500 for Mathematics and 500 for the Writing section, together with their High School Graduation Diploma. Or for the subject tests (SAT II), a score of 1050 for English and one of Physics or Chemistry with sub-minimum of 500 for either the English or one of the Physics, Chemistry, Biology or World History scores obtained at one or more sittings; or an ACT mean of 22 with a 22 sub-minimum in English and 21 in Mathematics Type of Exemption: Foreign (Reg 28)

SAT: Option (c)

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Tests) is a standardized test used in the USA for college admission, and in that sense it is similar to the National Benchmarking Tests (NBT’s), which is becoming a more frequently applied test by South African universities for more competitive courses (regardless of which matric option followed).

The SAT test does not provide the student with a qualification, but SAT scores may be required for university admission. SAT exams are administered by the College Board in the USA. These exams are provided at test centres in 175 countries, including South Africa. Students can register for SAT tests on the website of the College Board. Students have the option of writing the SAT on 6 different dates throughout the year in South Africa. The tests are written at 11 centres across the country, but not every centre offers the test on all 6 dates.

The SAT (which was redesigned in 2016) consists of four sections, namely Reading, Writing and Language, Math (which consists of two subsections, no calculator and calculator) and the optional Essay. The total time for the scored portion of the SAT is three hours (or three hours and fifty minutes if the optional essay section is taken). The College Board provides assistance in preparing for these tests (which is advisable): https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/khan-academy

Apart from the SAT, SAT subject tests, and the ACT are also available, and might be required by certain colleges for admission purposes.


American High School Diploma = R20,000+ (3+ years for Grades 9-12 for the standard and College-prep Diplomas; 18 months-2years for the Career Prep Diploma. Various free resources are available. The above mentioned cost excluded textbooks, tutor support, etc.

Advantages of the American High School Diploma

  • More freedom over choice of subjects and subject content.
  • Less emphasis on exams than other matric options like Cambridge and NSC.
  • Students can start university level courses during high school.

Disadvantages of American High School Diploma

  • The diploma is not as well-known as Cambridge and you will need to make sure if the university of your choice, as well as USAf will recognize it.
  • All work and exams are presented and written in English and not optimum for students with English second language.


The most common and well known academic matric in South Africa is the National Senior Certificate (NSC) or grade 12.

Obtaining the NSC

Many homeschooling families who choose the NSC matric option make use of a formal curriculum provider like Brainline, Impaq, Nucleus or others for grade 10, 11 and 12. To ensure that the child is ready for the curriculum providers' grade 10 work, some providers may expect the child to start following their home education programme from an earlier grade.

Most curriculum providers' material is CAPS compliant, thus the same content as used in public schools. For three years the student who uses a curriculum provider do 'school at home' with continuous assessments which includes tests, assignments, projects, orals and exams. This is the same as what any other student who attends school are doing.

The NSC route can be followed at home or through a learning centre. At home the child work through the study material on their own (or with the help of a parent or tutor) , complete assignment and write online tests. The exams are written at the curriculum provider’s examination centre. Some homeschoolers choose to work through a learning centre where the child enrolls and attends classes. Usually these are small classes with tutors.


Students can enroll for the NSC if they are registered with a home education curriculum provider who is registered at one of the examination boards. For example Brainline students write IEB (Independent Examination Board) exams and Impaq the SACAI (South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute) exams. Parents should take into account that learners enrolled with a curriculum provider registered with SACAI or IEB, can write exams at exam centres across the country. If however the curriculum provider is registered with a provincial examination board then the exams can only be taken in that province.

Students should comply with the passing requirement for grade 10 and grade 11 before they can write the final grade 12 exam. This can be done by enrolling at a curriculum provider from grade 10. Alternatively they may engage with the examination board and negotiate with them about what the exam board shall deem sufficient for a learner to pass the grade 10 and 11. If the parents can provide sufficient evidence the learner can be enrolled for the NSC.

Learners must register for the NSC before or on the 15th of March in the year they are planning to write the NSC exams.

Preparing for exams

Old exam papers are a great way to revise and prepare for upcoming NSC exams. This way the student can determine what they already know and don't know. It also helps them to manage their time and become familiar with the terminology and vocabulary used in the actual exams. These exam papers are available on the website of the Department of Basic Education , curriculum menu.


Compiling results

The way in which the final mark for the NSC is compiled, is as follows:

  1. The final mark for the NSC consists of two components. The first component counts 25% and is the final marks of the internal assessment for grade 12. The second component counts 75% and is the mark obtained in the NSC exam.
  2. The final mark for the Life Orientation learning area is based on the final marks of the internal assessment. This internal assessment must be moderated externally by the Department of Education, the examination board and Umalusi.
  3. In grade 12 all internal assessment must be moderated externally by the Department of Education, the examination board and Umalusi.


The approximate costs for obtaining a matric are as follows:

NSC : R50,000+ for Gr 10-12 (R20 000 for Gr. 10 and Gr. 11 and R30000 for Gr. 12; excluding extra support). Providers prices vary.

Advantages of NSC

  • Your child will do the "normal matric" and follow the mainstream way of doing matric . This will ease some of the criticism against your homeschooling, especially from family.
  • Universities and industry are familiar with the NSC. It will be easier when it comes to job (especially government positions) and university applications as your child’s qualification will be seen as just another application, and not an exception.
  • It is a structured and easy to follow approach as everything is already worked out and prescribed in the teacher and student manual. It relieves the parent from some responsibility on choices of content and study material. The child can also work through the programme mostly on their own.
  • Can be completed in Afrikaans for students whose home language is Afrikaans.

Disadvantages of NSC

  • As far as content goes, your children will be following the same CAPS curriculum as children at schools.
  • It can be expensive and compares with some private school fees, especially as it takes at least three years to complete.
  • Loss of freedom to be in control of your own learning as you are subjected to the providers schedules and deadlines. Lots of assignments and paperwork for students who were use to informal learning.

The GED  is an American High School Equivalency Certificate. It is internationally recognized as a high school leavers equivalent or Grade 12 equivalent in South Africa. Many parents choose this after following a variety of home education approaches.

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluates each submission of a foreign qualification on a case-by-case basis. SAQA has evaluated the GED and found the South African National Senior Certificate (NSC) as its closest comparable qualification.

What are the requirements for a GED diploma?

GED tests can be taken from 17 years of age. No prior grades are necessary to qualify to write the 4 GED tests. Good knowledge of English comprehension is recommended as well as basic Maths skills.

Which subjects do I write?

The subjects are:

  • Mathematical Reasoning,
  • Science,
  • Reasoning through Language Arts and
  • Social Studies.

A description of each subject is available on the ged.org.za website. http://www.ged.org.za/index.php/the-ged

TIP: Contact one of the Authorised Education Partners http://www.ged.org.za/index.php/authorised-education-partners/ and ask if they offer a free trial. Try this out and get an idea of the content and level of difficulty.

How do I prepare?

Many students make use of Authorised Education Partners (http://www.ged.org.za/index.php/authorised-education-partners/to prepare for the exams. Those who prefer books use Cracking the GED by Princeton Review or GED prep by Kaplan to prepare. The exams test general skills to ensure that the student is ready for the workplace or further studies. Good knowledge of English comprehension and basic mathematics is recommended but the online platforms and books will fill in the gaps.  There is no prescribed curriculum or syllabus. GED exams can be written one by one whenever a candidate is ready. A candidate can take as long as they like to prepare and then book an exam.

Where do you write exams?

The GED exams are booked through the GED.com website and written at Pearson VUE testing centers at Boston City campuses. There are about 45 centers across South Africa.

How do I book an exam?

Follow the instructions on the GED website:http://www.ged.org.za/index.php/how-to-book-your-test/ 

How much does it cost?

To study and prepare for the tests you can enroll in online classes with a GED Authorised Education Partner (http://www.ged.org.za/index.php/authorised-education-partners/) which costs about R1000 per month for group classes or R2800 per year to use the platform, depending on the school and services provided. To write the exams the cost per test is $80. The student needs to write and pass ALL 4 tests (Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies) to obtain the diploma. The GED hard copy diploma and transcript cost an additional $15 (excl shipping) each.

What do I need to achieve a pass?

A test-taker must earn a minimum score of 145 on each test subject to pass and earn the high school equivalency credential. If a candidate fails, they may retake the exam two additional times at any time. Should they fail a third time, they would have to wait 60 days before the next attempt. There is no minimum grade criterion to qualify for such a rewrite opportunity but the candidate will need to pay a test fee.

What do I receive after I pass the tests?

On successful completion of all 4 tests, you will be issued an electronic version of your GED High School Equivalency Credential issued by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, DC. You can also order a hard copy of the GED diploma or transcript courier with FedEx after completing your GED diploma. The links to access the electronic copies that are emailed to you are only valid for 60 days. If they expire before you have accessed and downloaded your Diploma and Transcript, you must log in to your GED.com profile and reorder. The cost to re-order is $15 each.

How to use your GED for study purposes.

Many homeschoolers with a GED have studied successfully at universities and colleges. USAf (Universities of South Africa) have unfortunately clamped down on the regulations relating to the issuing of Foreign Conditional Exemption. They will no longer consider applications for Foreign Conditional Exemption from South African GED graduates from 2020 (except if you are a citizen of another country). Graduates are needing to find an alternative to meet the requirements should they want to study towards a degree at a tertiary institution. Boston City Campus is accepting South African GED students for many of their Degree programs, provided that the student achieves the required GED scores. Boston will apply for the student. As they are recognizing the GED for acceptance, they meet certain requirements and this has been agreed with USAf.

GED graduates can also apply to study for a Higher Certificate at many tertiary institutions. A Higher Certificate is registered at NQF level 5 and after completing a Higher Certificate, can apply for an undergraduate degree. Progressing from a Higher Certificate into a Degree, students could potentially transfer up to 50% of their credits.

Many overseas universities such as the University of the People accept the GED for admission purposes and offer highly regarded degree programs. South African GED graduates who wish to enroll for degree study have the option to consider overseas universities or online overseas universities. 

GED graduates can apply to SAQA for a certificate of valuation as an NQF Level 4 in South Africa. SAQA (the South African Qualifications Authority) has evaluated the GED® and found the National Senior Certificate as its closest comparable qualification. This is useful for job applications or applying at a local tech or college.

To apply to do a Higher Certificate ( NQF Level 5) * Only a SAQA certificate will be necessary for this. A Higher Certificate (NQF5) may then qualify you for a complete exemption at USAf which may enable you to apply for degree studies provided you meet the entrance requirements of the faculty or university offering the degree.


The advantages of the GED

  • Allows freedom and flexibility. Parents can follow any curriculum of their choice up to the age of 16 before the student starts preparing for the GED exams. Students can still focus on their other interests (hobbies, businesses) and not spend years to obtain a grade 12 equivalent. It is self-paced and students can book a test when they are ready.
  • Best-priced option for a family on a tight budget. The student only writes 4 tests and books and pays whenever they are ready.
  • Many overseas universities accept the GED for admission purposes and offer highly regarded degree programs. South African GED graduates who wish to enroll for degree study do have the option to consider overseas online universities as well.
  • Some English-speaking homeschoolers choose this option as the Afrikaans required for Cambridge and the Afrikaans second language subject as part of the NSC offered by curriculum providers is a problem.

The disadvantages of the GED

  • USAf no longer considers applications for Foreign Conditional Exemption for University entrance from South African GED graduates from 2020.
  • It is not the best choice if your child is interested in pursuing a field of study, for example, medicine, where there are strict admission requirements.
  • The GED is just offered in English and maybe more difficult for students who do not have English as their home language.


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