‘All of the best to you’: Angie Motshekga on day one of matric exams
“I wish them all of the best,” basic education minister Angie Motshekga said to the class of 2021 as they sat down for their first matric exam on Wednesday.
She said pupils have been under pressure because of two years of disrupted schooling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This class didn’t have a full year in 2020 — the biggest problem is that this year we had to bring them on Saturdays and after school so there has been too much pressure. There has been a lot of support, I do hope that the support that has been mobilised inside and outside government will be maintained,” she said.
Motshekga, Gauteng premier David Makhura and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited Noordwyk Secondary School in Midrand to oversee the first day of the national senior certificate final examinations.
The school principal, Alex Tau, said they had 235 pupils writing exams on Wednesday morning.
“The children are ready. We’ve had Saturday and Sunday classes, we have done morning lessons and afternoon lessons, so we have done everything in our power to really get them prepared. All systems are set and we are also observing all [hygiene] protocols in terms of Covid-19,” he said.
On Wednesday, 124,065 candidates will sit for English Home Language while 609,830 will write English First Additional Language in 6,326 public examination centres, 526 independent and 326 designated centres around the country.
A total of 897,786 candidates, comprising 735,677 full-time and 162,109 part-time candidates have enrolled for the 2021 NSC examination, which will conclude on December 7.
Lesufi said most of those who had dropped out of school due to Covid-19 had returned to class this year.
“Those who we said dropped out of the system last year because of Covid-19 came back. Those who went for homeschooling came back, those who went to private school came back, hence the numbers. I am excited with that aspect,” he said.
A parent, Sibongile Likhuleni, has twin girls writing the exams. The mother from Diepsloot accompanied her children and said she was going to wait for them at the school.
“Today we woke up around 4 o’clock. I wish all the children good luck for today because it’s the first [matric] exam they are writing,” she said.
Likhuleni said her children were very nervous but had studied hard.
“They used to attend school and they would also study at home, they pushed, even now they are still studying,” she said.
Motshekga said they have been assured that all necessary measures are in place to protect the exam papers, after last year’s leaks.
“We have done all we could possibly do, so if they happen I really think it could be quite sad. We had auditing teams going to all provinces auditing their systems, checking that there are no risks and they came back with a report.
“We really hope they [leaks] don’t happen again this year,” she said.
Makhura said there has been a lot of preparation.
“We can only wish them well ... To get to this point would not have been easy. We rest the hope of our nation on their shoulders.
“We know there is a lot of pressure, we saw it in their eyes.”
He said some pupils have indicated that they have been vaccinated while others said they will do so after their exams.
Makhura said they are looking forward to great performances. “Our learners have done their work, our teachers have done their work and the parents have done their work.”