By Jackie Carroll, CEO of Media Works

Around 800 000 matric students across the country are preparing to write their finals as the examination season has kicked off in earnest.

The intensity of this time for these students is enough to remind them of the importance of finishing their matric.

Jackie Carroll is the CEO and co-founder of Media Works.

Jackie Carroll is the CEO and co-founder of Media Works.

But if students need an extra dose of motivation, they may want to take note of advice from those who have previously tried and failed to finish their matric.

At Matric Works, we specialise in adult education and helping older learners achieve their Adult Senior Certificate (ASC).

The ages of our adult learners range from those in their 20s and 30s to even a 90-year-old.

And at the announcement of the recent winners of our #Matric4Madiba competition last month, we came across several key messages from adult learners about why getting a matric is so important to them.

Here are five reasons that many of these learners listed as important, and points that current matric learners could take note of…

A better shot at employment

With unemployment in South Africa officially standing at over 27%, many of our adult learners have been unemployed for prolonged periods of time and find it hard to get even the most basic jobs without a matric certificate. This is especially true as most companies around the country want matric as a minimum qualification.

Therefore, completing their matric studies is a major motivation for many to enter the workforce and become productive citizens.

Opportunity to study further

When it comes to tertiary education, having a matric qualification is essential. For many adult learners who participated and won this year’s #Matric4Madiba competition, several of them have set their sights on furthering their education.

Many learners expressed how they would, for example, like to study medicine or embark on a career in transportation and even with the police force. These adult learners see matric as being the first key step to unlocking further education opportunities and pursuing their dreams.

Career growth

For many of our adult learners, not having a matric has limited their job prospects. Despite the challenges that they’ve faced in their lives, some learners have still managed to get jobs. But many have described to us how their prospects have been limited by not being able to move forward with their careers.

One learner, who works in supply management, said that to get a further position she knows that she needs matric. Another learner who works as a facilitator told us that her job made her realise just how important learning is and how she wants to complete matric to further her personal development.

Doing it for the kids

For many adult learners, their children have become a key motivating factor. Some adult learners in the #Matric4Madiba competition explained how they had children at a young age and, unfortunately, lost out on completing their matric when they were still of school-going age.

But later on in life, their children have become a motivating factor to them and a symbol for just how important an education is to them.

Self-pride, becoming an example

Finally, a key reason for many adult learners looking to complete their matric is to elicit a sense of self-pride as well as becoming an example to their families and communities.

One learner told us about how he “wants to be a good example to my two young sons and for my other cousins who didn’t finish their matric.”

Another learner explained just how important finishing matric is to her: “I feel that I need to be a good example to my kids so they know that education is the key to success and that you are never too old to learn.”

“I really appreciate getting the opportunity to learn and better my life as I’ve wasted a lot of time. But I’m willing to study to achieve my goals and ambitions,” said the learner.

Never give up!

As you can see, many adults who are pursuing matric later on in life have lots of motivational reasons for doing so.

It’s a timely reminder for all matrics writing this year’s exams to do the very best they can.

And, for those of you who don’t get the results that you’re after or even if you fail matric, remember that it’s not the end of the road.

There will be other options available for you and you can engage with providers such as Matric Works to help you with the next step.

  • Jackie Carroll is the CEO and co-founder of Media Works, the leading provider of Adult Education and Training (AET) in South Africa, which has been operating in the country for over 22 years.