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Angie Motshekga visits Soweto as more than 1-million matrics begin exams

05 November 2020 - 08:19 By nonkululeko njilo
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga was expected to monitor the start of grade 12 final examinations on Thursday. A total of 1,058,699 candidates are expected to sit for their exams from November 5 to December 15.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga was expected to monitor the start of grade 12 final examinations on Thursday. A total of 1,058,699 candidates are expected to sit for their exams from November 5 to December 15.   
Image: Picture: THE HERALD

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga is set to monitor the start of grade 12 final examinations on Thursday, starting with a visit to Soweto.

A record total of 1,058,699 candidates are expected to sit for their examinations from November 5 to December 15.  

Spokesperson for the department Elijah Mhlanga said the exams would be on par with previous exams despite being struck by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It should be noted that despite the abnormal context, the Class of 2020 will be subjected to the same high quality of examination that previous cohorts were subjected to, as the department has not made any changes to the exam papers, which were already set in 2019.

“The state of readiness to write the 2020 examinations is predicated on a number of factors beyond the normal indicators of system readiness. The sector has had to double its efforts to ensure that the Class of 2020, despite the disruptions of the academic year, are fully prepared for this examination,” he said.

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While it had  been unclear if pupils with Covid-19 would sit for the examinations, the department decided to allow them to write in isolation, less than 24 hours before the exams were expected to commence.

Those with high temperatures are also going to be allowed to write.

“The department, after seeking expert advice from the department of health, has amended its writing protocol to allow learners that present a temperature of above 38°C, during the screening process, to write the examination in isolation and such learners will not be allowed to associate with other learners after the examination and will be referred for medical attention. The condition of such learners will be closely monitored in subsequent examinations,” said Mhlanga.

Exam Centre Registration

The department said new writing centres were identified to accommodate the increased number of candidates for the combined examinations in some facilities.

“The designated centres will mainly be used for the senior certificate and part-time candidates, while NSC full-time candidates write at their schools. Both public and independent centres have been audited to ascertain the risk profile of the centre and compliance with Covid-19 protocols. Monitoring of the centres will be based on the risk profile of the centres,” said Mhlanga.

Writing centres

The department said all chief invigilators and invigilators had been trained to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols across the provinces.

“All private invigilators have been trained together with the chief invigilators by the head office examination staff. Provinces completed the training of monitors by the end of October 2020. Social distancing has been decreased to 1 metre, and this has assisted with the space provision for the writing of the examination. Provinces have completed the audit of examination centres. Centres have been categorised according to risk profile,” said Mhlanga.   

Monitoring of exams 

Daily reports are to be submitted to the DBE during the writing period and provinces are expected to submit the final irregularity reports on or before January 25 2021. The department said it would deploy part-time monitors to monitor the writing and distribution of question papers.

“Part-time monitors will also monitor the marking of the exams. The DBE will also make use of online monitoring of the examinations. Regarding management of irregularities, parents and learners have participated in pledge-signing ceremonies, committing to a credible and fair examination process, as well as been made aware of the consequences if they are implicated in irregularities. Provinces have submitted plans for the finalisation of the management of irregularities before the release of results, and for the management of irregularities at the marking centre.

“Learners are once again urged not to resort to any irregular practice either before or during the examination and to bring to the attention of the school principal any information that may relate to a breach in the examination. Even if the information is  unsolicited, the failure of the learner to bring such information to the attention of the school principal constitutes an irregularity and the learner will be regarded as being complicit.”