To the Covid-19 matriculants

09 February 2021 | Opinion

Pull quote: “Your grade 12 performance does not determine who you are and what your future holds.”

Rivaldo Kavanga

The 2020 group of grade 12 learners is surely a special and unique group.

Persistent, resilient and determined are the terms used to describe these learners, the Covid-19 matriculants as many would refer to them.

These were the first group of learners that experienced the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, the very first group of learners that had to attend school while wearing mask, sanitising their hands and maintaining physical distancing.

No other group of grade 12s had to stay home for three months, had their learning and teaching time cut in half and still sat for an end-of-year exam.

However, even with this background, an ample number of grade 12 learners are not spared from the pressure that has been placed on the grade 12 results.

Parents, relatives, friends and society often add on to the pressure of the results.

The expectation placed on grade 12 learners to do exceptionally well is what further adds to the strain of poor mental health many learners experience before and after the results are released.

It is with this in mind that the ministry of education, arts and culture has opted to rather publish the results of learners with their candidate number instead of their names and surnames to ensure that learners’ results remain confidential.

This is a great leap forward but cannot fully protect learners from the societal pressure.

It is now up to us to ensure we take care of one another.

Parents should understand that failure is inevitable and should be supportive and kind towards their children. The sooner parents help children to accept that they will someday face failure and help them overcome it, the more confident their children will grow.

Being compared to our cousins is something that many of us have experienced. Relatives should refrain from comparing children, as each child is different and the circumstances these learners went through were unique.

Friends often play a pinnacle role during these times. Congratulate your friends who passed and comfort and reassure the ones that did not do so well. Don’t be a cyberbully; refrain from sharing content on social media that could potentially trigger negative thoughts in the minds of your peers.

Your grade 12 performance does not determine who you are and what your future holds. Your future and identity depend on you and how hard you work.

To the Covid-19 matriculants: All the best for the year!