It's hard to compare precisely. Matric covers a broad range of subjects like GCSEs do in the UK, which we write at 16. Matric is written at 18 and probably to a slightly higher standard than GCSE level but definitely below the A-Level exams we do at 18, when normally we only do 3-4 subjects.
In answer to your question it's still tough to say. You're not comparing apples with apples.
You might like to look at www.saqa.org.za and see if you can get your question answered there. Have fun
Had a chat with the old thingy who has a ZA matric. It is quite difficult to quantify but on the basis that a child writes 'O' levels, GCSEs, here at 16, at which age he may leave school, we estimate that kilo for kilo, a ZA matric is about one year behind a UK 'O' level and thus at least two behind an 'A' level. We may be well out on this and we have estimated that standards in the ZA public school sector (as opposed to private school) have deteriorated somewhat in the last few years. I also await responses to your query with interest.
The nice thing about the SA matric is if you plug - give someone fifty bucks and you pass. If this is still too difficult then just give them fifty bucks before attempting the exams and you get it! That way you save on ink and the travel costs getting to the exam hall. Or just complain that the paper was too hard - especially the first Q - spelling your name.
Having done both Matric and O'levels I can say that O'levels are harder in some respects. History, Geography, English and Biology are harder at O'level whereas Maths and Physics were harder for Matric.
Just to clarify, GCSEs (no longer O-Levels) are taken by English kids at 15-16yrs, and last 2yrs. They can take up to 10 subjects, and as a result tend to lack depth. Kids wishing to stay on at school then take A-Levels. A-Levels also take two years. Traditionally, students would choose 3 or 4 A-Level subjects and study these alone for the two-year period, allowing an indepth study of their chosen area. Now, the first year (called AS-Levels) is spent studying four or five subjects, one or two of which may be dropped for the full A-Level in the second year. There has been concern as to whether this lowers the quality of the once hallowed A-Level.
I moved to the UK aged 16 and did 5 GCSEs in a single year. Having left school in SA at Std 8 (Grade 10) I breezed through these. The progression to A-Levels was harder. In my opinion, the Matric is harder than GCSEs (GCSEs are rediculous, try googling past paper questions), but A-Levels are more than likely significantly harder than the Matric. To answer the original question: I believe it is generally accepted that A-Levels are equivalent to the first year of a SA degree, and AS-Levels are Matric level, or thereabouts. GCSEs don't really come into it at this level.
If I may be allowed to modify my first post on this subject please? I have done a little asking around with those ZA renegades of my acquaintance who live in Blighty. I think Fat Albert, God preserve his monument, is actually spotter on than was I originally. Certainly when I was at university in the great States, many years ago, Cambridge wanted to see two years undergraduate study there before admittance to first year there. Hope that helps a teeny bit. That's just to show off, bye the bye!
Check this out, from the Natal Witness! A dumbed-down matric
Three Es and four Fs to pass will give pupils a worthless qualification, say educationists
Education experts have ridiculed requirements for passing the new matric.
The response came after news that candidates will need three E and four F symbols to obtain the new national senior certificate in 2008.
It means a candidate must score 40% in his home language, life orientation and one other subject but needs only 30% to pass the rest.
The candidate's marks may also be condoned in one subject. This means if he or she has between 0% and 29% for a subject, it can be condoned to 30% and therefore he or she would pass this subject as well.
Professor Kobus Maree, an educationist and guidance counsellor at the University of Pretoria, said it's absurd that candidates with such poor marks can obtain a certificate.
"What will candidates do with such a worthless certificate? What type of skills will they have acquired? And how would it be determined what level of critical thinking, problem-solving and so on they have?"
Maree said this qualification puts a question mark over the ideal of equipping pupils for further studies and the workplace.
He said there is one-sided and inexcusable pressure on schools to allow as many pupils as possible to pass. However, the future of these pupils and the usefulness of their subject combinations are not considered.
"Pupils should be informed about the dangers of merely passing Grade 12 and the long-term consequences of poor symbols, for instance."
Maree said parents should make sure they know what subjects and combinations of subjects their children need to go to university for example and to qualify to study specific courses at tertiary level.
Professor Izak Oosthuizen, an education expert at North West University in Potchefstroom, said when "the seeds of mediocrity are planted, mediocrity will be harvested".
He said the new criteria are simply not good enough. "To achieve success in this country, it is necessary to strive for excellence."
Several teachers said the low pass requirements will make teaching even more difficult. "Many pupils already have an attitude that they do not need to study to pass. Given the fact the pupils' continuous assessment mark [cass] will also count 25% of the final mark, many will simply sit back and not work hard at all.
"False expectations are created for these pupils. Perhaps they can pass matric with such poor symbols but the workplace and higher education will demand much more of them," the teachers said. Publish Date: 10 September 2005
Matric has been classed as sitting in between O level & A level when assessing university entramce, forgetting for the moment the politicians attempts to dumb Matric down.
It is worth noting that there seems to be a world wide decline in standards of science and maths in schools, though SA matric seems to be way ahead of the general trend. It is seen as "too hard" and no-one wants to study "that stuff" any more.
The universities are expected to fix all the problems as more and more inadequately educated school leavers queue up for places with worthless school leaving certificates. In an already crowded curriculum, it is an impossible task to make good on 12 years of poor schooling so we end up with crappy graduates.
I once mentored a UCT engineering undergraduate who with 10 months to go before getting his degree was unable to write a business letter or a technical report without major assistance. When I asked him about his plans, he told me he was not interested in this engineering stuff but instead was going to get himself a cushy number on the Boards of one of the parastatals!
I am not sure if he did this but if so he must be laughing at the experienced professionals trying so hard to maintain a standard!
According to my sister, who is a 2ndry school teacher in UK, and went to Rhodes, Matric is, as already been mentioned, is basically, between the old O'level and A'level, and is suitable depending on passes and marks for SA university entrance. She got a job in UK, with a Matric. Any comments?
Where did you matriculate from, and how long ago? This may be the case if you attended a private school in SA, or if it was a decade ago, but I'm pretty sure that the public school matric is 'equivalent' to half an A-Level, as per my earlier post. I honestly can't see even standard grade matric being regarded equivalent to GCSEs.
I'm aware that UK universities may consider admitting students from SA holding a matric from a private school, without having done an extra year in SA. Not so from public schools however.
By the way, only very academic individuals take on the workload that comes with 5 A-Levels. The norm is 3, sometimes 4.
Apologies if I have offended you, or indeed anyone else on here. Certainly this was not my intention.
I've simply been trying to help out on a topic I have some knowledge of. Having been in both education systems I have made sure I know what is what - and as far as I am aware my statements are well founded.
I don't see why you think I have been negative anyway. Stating the Matric is ahead of GCSEs, but below full A-Levels is factual. The standard of the Matric has declined in the past decade - as has the standard of GCSEs and A-Levels, fact. Private school qualifications are regarded more highly than public school qualications, in any country; fact. What do you say?