In South Africa, the Matric Certificate or National Senior Certificate is seen as the  educational document that separates people who get good jobs from those who don’t. Ask anyone in South Africa about your chances in the job market without a Matric Certificate. Their reactions are not likely to be positive and understandably so.

Most Universities, FET Colleges, and even companies have a Matric Certificate as a minimum requirement just to be considered for entry or an interview!

We know you can find good work without Matric, but getting your Matric Certificate makes the process so much easier. It opens up more opportunities and increases your chances of finding a good job.

You Failed Your Matric Exams?

Failing Matric can be devastating, but it does not have to be the end for you, because you are not alone. There are still things you can do to get your National Senior Certificate.

Apply for a Re-Mark

You could apply to have your papers re-marked if you really feel that you should have gotten a better mark. Applying for a re-mark costs money to when applying. You can check your local newspapers for remarking deadline dates and fees. If you went to a no-fee school then you might be in a privileged position to not have to pay any application fee.

Apply to Write Supplementary Exams

If you have failed less than 3 subjects then you can apply to write your supplementary exams. The great thing about this option is that they are free!

When you can apply to re-write:

You’ll have to get this information from your school, or get in touch with the Department of Education through their website, their email at or call them on 0800 202 933.

Read more about rewrites here.

Re-do your Matric Year


You can contact your High-School and talk about what you can do in terms of enrollment or how to transfer to another school.

Here you’ll most likely have to do all of the subjects you did before. Don’t let this get you down. You’ll come in knowing what to expect.  This will give you an edge over your classmates (if you care about that sort of thing) and the potential for excellent results.

Stop Chasing Matric and get an Equivalent Qualification and a Career

TVET College (public)

If you plan to study at a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, instead of the traditional National Senior Certificate you can do a Grade 12 equivalent trade based qualification known as the National Certificate Vocational.  

You can contact the TVET College you would like to go to and find out about their application procedures, requirements, and dates.

Here is a list of public colleges.

Private TVET Colleges / FET Colleges

There are many accredited private colleges offering high-quality courses. Since you are their customer, they must try harder than the Public colleges!

Here is a list of private distance learning colleges.

Have you Lost or Damaged Your Matric Certificate?

Simply apply for a replacement at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) or Provincial Education Department (PED) by filling in and sending the Replacement Application form.

You can ask for a statement of results while you are waiting for the issue of your certificate.

If your certificate has been damaged due to whatever reason, you will have to return the damaged document to the Department of Basic Education or Provincial Education Department.

Steps to take:

You will need to pay a small fee. You can do this by postal order at the post office, in cash at the DBE/PED office, or by cheque.

Go to a DBE or PED office close to you with these documents:

  • An affidavit explaining what happened to your damaged certificate. If it is lost then the affidavit is not needed.
  • Your original Identity Document and a certified copy.
  • If you’re not in the mood for travelling, you can download the form: Application for a Replacement Certificate, complete it and post it with the necessary documents (DON’T FORGET THE POSTAL ORDER) to Private Bag X895, Pretoria, 0001

If you are outside of South Africa then there is no problem in sending someone to the Department of Basic Education to complete that form for you and pay the fee.

Final Note

You’ve made a mistake that anyone can make. There are other people who have made, and come back from, making the same mistake. So there’s no reason that you can’t do the same.

You don’t have to see this as a failure. Instead, you can see this as a major learning curve or a wakeup call to get back on track. Even if you see it as a failure, maybe you had to ‘fail’ in order to reach your big success like many inspirational figures had to do in the past.

This is not the end, please keep going.  

Read here about 16 accredited college courses you can start without needing Matric.


By: Robin Louw
Last Updated: June 20, 2019