All systems go for National Senior Certificate exams

Nearly 898,000 candidates are registered to write, says education department

08 October 2021 - 17:02
There will be designated centres to cater for matric pupils who test positive for Covid-19. File photo.
There will be designated centres to cater for matric pupils who test positive for Covid-19. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

A total of 735,677 full-time matric candidates have registered to write the National Senior Certificate exams, an increase of 128,000 from last year.

A further 162,109 part-time candidates have also enrolled to write the exams.

The exams, which officially start on October 27 and end on December 7, will be written at more than 11,000 exam centres — 6,326 of them for public schools and 4,130 for part-time candidates.

At least 526 centres will cater for private school candidates and there will be 326 designated centres for pupils who may have contracted Covid-19 or display Covid-19 symptoms.

Priscilla Ogunbanjo, director for public exams in the department of basic education, told a media briefing on Friday that candidates were ready to write the exams and that the department was ready to administer them.

“The grade 12 class of 2021 is the grade 11 class of 2020 that actually had to go through all the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the department has consistently adapted and made changes to mitigate these limitations.”

The department has observed an increase in the number of candidates who enrolled for key subjects, which included increases of 30% and 40% in enrolment in some of the key subjects.

Ogunbanjo said the designated centres were created by the provinces to cater for, among other things, learners who may test positive for Covid-19.

“In these exams, we intend accommodating everybody. In schools we also have isolation rooms to be used by candidates displaying Covid-19 symptoms.”

Ogunbanjo said exams will be monitored by officials from her department, as well as from the provinces, districts and circuits.

“In most provinces there will be a 100% coverage, meaning at every school during every exam there will be a monitor.”

Exam centres have been categorised as either high risk, medium or low and “our monitoring dispensation is aligned to the way in which our centres have been categorised”.

A total of 41,596 markers have been appointed to mark scripts at 194 marking centres across the country.

Ogunbanjo said matrics will participate in a pledge-signing ceremony on October 22 “to confirm their non-participation in acts of dishonesty during the exams”.

“It will be followed by the signing of a commitment agreement committing to bind themselves to support the writing of an irregularity-free exam.”

Marking of matric papers is scheduled to be completed by December 22 and basic education minister Angie Motshekga will announce the results on January 20 2022.

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