Second Chance Matric Programme: National Senior Certificate or Senior Certificate? - Youth Capital

Second Chance Matric Programme: National Senior Certificate or Senior Certificate?

National Senior Certificate

Second-chancers are those young people who are working towards a matric certificate or improved matric results outside of the full-time, conventional schooling system. They are enormously resilient. All second-chancers have faced setbacks, disappointments, and disruptions in their educational journey. But despite this, they are trying again, working outside the in-school system, with little support or recognition.

Second-chancers have the following routes to the qualification available to obtain a matric certificate: a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or a Senior Certificate (SC). Please note that regardless of which route second-chancers take, those who do not manage to pass their exams receive a statement of results. This statement assists in articulation pathways into post-school opportunities.

NSC or SC?

Let’s take a closer look at the two options. 

The National Senior Certificate (NSC)

The National Senior Certificate route is available both full-time or part-time.

As long as candidates are under 21 years old, and left Grade 12 less than three years ago, they
can re-enrol for a full-time NSC. These candidates can take the full complement of matric subjects through the full-time route. This route is rare, both inside the conventional schooling system, and in the second chance system.

Those who failed their matric exams, passed but want to improve their results, or reached Grade 12 but never wrote their exams can register as part-time candidates to write the NSC. They must be under 21 years old and have left Grade 12 less than three years ago. Part-time NSC candidates may write all, or just some, matric subjects.

The Senior Certificate (SC)
The SC is for candidates who are 21 years old or older. It caters for those who completed Grade 9 but dropped out of school before reaching the Grade 12 examinations, as well as those who wrote their matric exams more than three years ago, and either failed or passed but want to improve their results. Some may also want to change or add subjects to their matric qualification.

The SC is an equivalent qualification to the NSC, but while the NSC combines examinations and the School-Based Assessment to reach a final result, the SC is based only on examinations.

The table below contains the information regarding the NSC and SC. The National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA)  has been designed as a matric qualification for adults, although it has not yet been instituted. There is some suggestion that NASCA will be issued for the first time in 2021. This is a new certification, but the table below contains information regarding it. 

You can download the table here

How do second-chancers register for a re-write?

To write matric as a second-chancer, candidates must register online or through the education
district office closest to them.  For the May/June 2021 exam, candidates can register for the National Senior Certificate ONLY at a district office; Senior Certificate candidates can either register online or at a district office. The original deadline, as per official communication by the Department was 31 March 2021; however, the website is currently reporting 26 March 2021. We advise you to check with the district office closest to you. 

To register, you need the following documents:

  • Copy of your ID/Passport
  • Copy of your results
  • Copy of proof of residence (a bank statement from your bank will do).

Applications are free.


Where do second-chancers find support?

To prepare for examinations, second chance candidates can receive support through three types of institution:


  • A non-government, subsidised community college. Since 2015, over 3,000 Community Learning Centres across the country are organised into nine provincial ‘Community Colleges’, officially called Community Learning and Training Centres.
  • A private college, which charges registration and tuition fees.
  • A traditional high school (although not all high schools seem to provide for or support this).


Are you taking the second chance route to matric? Share your experience with us!

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