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Dear Grade 12 pupil IF YOU passed, congratulations. If you failed, try again — it‘s not the end of the world, and many young people have bounced back from failure and made a success of their lives. If you passed well, with one or more distinctions, well done; you have worked hard for this achievement and I salute you.Now, we need to talk. Passing Grade 12 in South Africa is actually quite easy, and it means very little. The standards are low and the marks are adjusted upwards for most subjects. Those of you with six or more distinctions are particularly vulnerable to self-deception because “smart” means much more than conquering the rules of the examination game.Remember, the exams are rigged to make the weakest pupils pass, not to make the brightest pupils excel. Or more directly, the exams are designed to compensate for the dysfunction in most of our schools because the politicians are too scared to confront those who hold hostage the potential of all our pupils. The only subject ...

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