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Can I write my matric final exams if I am not vaccinated?

27 October 2021 - 07:00
Matric exams start on October 27. File photo.
Matric exams start on October 27. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais

The department of basic education has assured pupils that they don't need to be vaccinated to write their final exams. 

Final exams for matriculants start on Wednesday. They were supposed to start on November 1 but were moved to avoid a clash with the municipal elections.

Speaking on SABC News, the department's spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said there is no requirement for matric pupils to be vaccinated to be allowed to write exams. He said the pupils who are not vaccinated could do so after exams to avoid taking time off from school due to side effects of the vaccine.

“Vaccines have side effects and they affect people in different ways,” said Mhlanga. “We are trying to ensure pupils continue with their examinations without any disruptions because if you cannot write one paper you will have to write that paper next year and we don't believe that is the wish of our candidates.”

Mhlanga said the department was not discouraging pupils from getting vaccinated but cautions matriculants about the timing.

“They might as well still go to get a vaccination once they're done writing the examination because the vaccination programme will still be there. We are advising them that they need to think, do their research if they have the time to do that. We encourage pupils very strongly that they need to get the vaccine, but if they can wait until after the exams they should,” said Mhlanga.

Last month, Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schäfer said special arrangements were being made to prioritise pupils at selected vaccination sites. 

According to the MEC, this was communicated to schools and the names of pupils and parental consent would be submitted to school districts.

Transport is also being arranged by the district to accommodate pupils, said Schäfer. 

“For those that haven’t yet, the Western Cape has made it easier for eligible learners who wish to be vaccinated to get their vaccine quickly and efficiently. We are again being assisted by the provincial department of health to make specific arrangements to prioritise our learners at specific vaccination sites. 

“A letter from the head of department outlining the process was sent to schools explaining how schools can assist consenting matric learners to get vaccinated. Schools are to submit names and consent to the district, which will then arrange a time slot for learners, accompanied by a school representative at a vaccination site,” said Schäfer