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Gauteng's matric class of 2021 biggest ever

Record number of candidates to start writing final exams on Wednesday

24 October 2021 - 15:07
Students will start writing their first matric exams on Wednesday, with the last test happening on December 6.
Students will start writing their first matric exams on Wednesday, with the last test happening on December 6.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The 2021 matric exams, which begin on Wednesday, will see the largest number of Gauteng candidates ever sitting for their finals.

The Gauteng education department announced on Sunday that Gauteng has enrolled 175,599 candidates to write this year’s matric exams — an increase of 17.55% on last year’s 149,385.

Apart from being ready to handle increased numbers, the department is once again set to ensure that the exam process runs smoothly from beginning to the finalisation of results.

The final exams will start on Wednesday and run until and including December 6 for public schools.

The Class of 2021 will be the eighth group to write the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) aligned NSC exams, and the second to write amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As such, preparations by our department for these assessments are paramount to ensure that they occur conveniently and securely for all qualifying candidates involved,” said department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

He said that of the 175,599 candidates, 132,887 are full-time and 42,712 are part-time students (those who have one or more outstanding subjects to qualify for the National Senior Certificate qualification).

Provincial education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said 1,004 examination centres have been accredited across the province where all registered qualifying candidates will write the exams. These centres include 652 public ordinary schools, 244 independent schools, 97 adult education and training centres, 8 prisons and 3 designated centres in the province.

“The GDE has also established an extensive network of monitors across the province, having officially appointed and trained chief invigilators and monitors for all the examination centres.

“The invigilators and monitors are sourced from our head office, districts and other education stakeholders, to ensure the administration and management of the NSC examination is fair, credible and run with integrity,” said Lesufi.

He added that security arrangements to safely manage the distribution and collection of question papers and answer sheets were in place.

“We will have printed 2,171,915 question papers for the duration of the examination process. We have ensured that we increase security arrangements around the printing of question papers as a means of mitigating human error and other vulnerabilities.”

The province has selected and certified 30 approved marking venues where marking of examination scripts will take place and 12,889 markers have been appointed as well as 2,514 examination assistants who will do quality assurance of marked scripts to ensure there are no errors in the computing of pupils' marks.

The first marking session will take place on November 15 and the second on December 7, with everything completed by December 23.

 The GDE also has a standing agreement with Child Line to assist pupils experiencing stress due to exam pressure or after receiving results.

Covid-19 protocols will also see a maximum of 30 candidates in an exam room with 1-metre distancing, mandatory masks, isolation rooms and sanitising procedures.

Lesufi said: “We would like to wish all our grade 12 pupils the best of luck and assure them that they have our full support. Learners are urged to conduct themselves with honesty during the exam.

“Cheating and other exam irregularities may result in a criminal record. Tears and sweat taste the same but will get you different results. Tears will get you sympathy, and sweat will get you change.”