By Nomali Cele
So what happens when your child realises in the middle of grade 10 or just before beginning grade 11 that they chose incorrect subjects? Can they change subjects in grade 11? The good news here is that your child has realised, either on their own or through bad results, that the subject choice isn’t suitable. Since 2017, no subject changes have been allowed in grade 12, making grade 11 the last opportunity for your child to make a change.
Reasons to change subjects in grade 11
There can be various reasons your child might want to change subjects in grade 11. Whether they’ve finally discovered their passion which will require chemistry and not the accounting they selected and aced. Or perhaps, your child has discovered that their marks in agriculture are not great but they are still interested in history and languages, which they aced before changing their stream.
As a parent, this is the time to empower and support your child. The opportunity to change subjects in 11 is the last chance for your child to correct course in their studies. In grade 11, your child can change up to two subjects. This can effectively change their stream of study (from the sciences to accounting, for instance).
The procedure to change subjects in grade 11
The department of education has put procedures in place where teachers tend to be the first to initiate subject changes for learners in grades 10 and 11. They are best placed to see how learners are performing across their subjects. Teachers then get in contact with parents to advise on the subject changes.
Even if your child is the one to initiate the process, the next step is the same as if the teacher was the one to suggest the subjects change. Once you’ve spoken to your child and they’ve decided which direction they want to go, you will be expected to request the subject change from the principal in writing.
Once the change has been approved, it’s expected that you (parent/guardian), the subject teacher and principal sign a memorandum of agreement, which mostly states that the change is in the best interests of your child. This information will then be forwarded to the district office.
When undertaking to change subjects in grade 11, the request needs to be made and approved by March. While the application is happening, the learner is not expected to do an assessment in the subjects they will be switching to; they will still be assessed on their old subjects. That’s why it’s important to get the subject change processed before the first term is over.