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Inside matric exam rooms: crib notes, cellphones and positive Covid-19 cases

Basic education department pleased with how first two weeks of matric finals have gone, despite some glitches

13 November 2020 - 19:17 By belinda pheto
The department of basic education says no serious incidents were experienced in the second week of matric examinations.
The department of basic education says no serious incidents were experienced in the second week of matric examinations.
Image: paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

An undisclosed number of matric pupils in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were caught with crib notes during examinations this week.

Basic education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department was dealing with the incidents and strengthening vigilance in examination centres to protect the integrity of the exam process.

Mhlanga was speaking as the department gave its update on how the first two weeks of the matric finals had gone.

Another reported incident was that of two pupils, one each in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, who were found in possession of cellphones during exams. Mhlanga said they had been dealt with according to the pledge they signed.

Mhlanga said the department appealed to parents to communicate a message of integrity and to discourage candidates from cheating.

The department said the second week of the examinations went well, apart from protest action at Brackenfell High School in the Western Cape.

Mhlanga said initial reports indicated that all schools wrote the examinations, however it is not clear at this stage whether all pupils in those schools wrote. Data is still being collected.

When it came to Covid-19, Mhlanga said 93 matrics tested positive this week.

According to the department, 53 pupils in the Eastern Cape tested positive, while the Free State recorded 23 positive cases, the Western Cape 10 and Gauteng seven.

The department expressed concern about the high numbers of positive cases in the Eastern Cape and Free State.

It said the decision taken together with the department of health to allow pupils who tested positive for Covid-19 to write their exams in controlled isolation rooms at their exam centres had reduced anxiety on the part of both parents and pupils.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga said that candidates could still access revision lessons on the WOZA Matric TV broadcasts via SABC1 for their exam preparations. She encouraged pupils to continue using past question papers when revising.

 “As we prepare for the start of the third week I wish the candidates success in their efforts. I appeal to all candidates to stay home and study, avoid parties and all risky behaviours that may endanger their health. Everyone must remember to wear their mask when leaving home, to sanitise their hands regularly and to observe physical distancing. This will help avoid infection,” Motshekga said.