Matric Finals Are Almost Over, Government Now Warning Matrics To Not Attend Pens Down Parties

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Over the next week, matric learners around the country will put down their pens for last time as school children. The education department is extremely concerned that learners may go overboard when celebrating the completion of their schooling while they await the release of their matric results. 

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The Education Department is urging learners to behave responsibly during so-called pens down celebrations. Around one million learners are expected to complete their final school examinations in the coming week. 

The period between the end of exams and receipt of results has become synonymous with large celebrations often involving alcohol. The education department is cautioning learners against attending pens down parties and behaving responsibly to prevent unintended consequences.

Likho Bottoman, Director for Social Cohesion in Schools, says the period between the end of matric exams and results is an anxiety-provoking time. They say this period represents a time when all the protection investment in learners from the education department is taken away. 

Whilst they [matric learners] are waiting for their results and are anxious, we are more anxious about the pens down period. 

Bottoman says while young people should be liberated and allowed to explore themselves and learn from experiences, the department believes in imparting knowledge and information to youth. This information seeks to allow youth to make safe and responsible decisions that affect their lives. 

It is important therefore to talk about these things and make young people and their parents aware of the risks and harm that can come with pen-down experiences. 

The social cohesion director says facilitators of these parties only present the nice side of things but they do not present the risks and harm associated with these types of celebrations involving alcohol. 

Alcohol can be a gateway substance to other drugs because there is empirical evidence that shows us that most of the time those who escalate their use of substances and drugs would have started with alcohol. 

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department expressed its gratitude to all the Matric Candidates, who conducted themselves with integrity from the first day of the examinations to the last day. They are calling on learners to maintain this integrity as they await their examination results. 

We strongly discourage the attendance of pen-down celebrations and Matric rage parties, that are extremely dangerous and the conduct of learners ripping off their school uniform as a sign of excitement and achievement upon finishing their examinations.

The department advised learners to leave the uniform at their respective schools so that their educators could help those who would be in need of the uniform the following year

KZN MEC Mbali Frazer also urged learners to conduct themselves responsibly during the summer holidays, so that they are ready and fit for tertiary institutions and other endeavours in 2024.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) MEC David Maynier reminded matric candidates that several grade 12 exams must still be completed. Albeit that some of these subjects will only be written by a few learners. 

It is understandable that our matrics would like to let their hair down and celebrate the end of a difficult few years at school, but we urge them to do so responsibly and in moderation, especially in terms of alcohol consumption.

The WCED is encouraging parents to ensure that matrics understand the risks involved in large events and smaller parties and to ensure that they have made arrangements to stay in contact with their children and know what to do in an emergency. 

The 2023 matric exam results will be released on 19 January 2024.

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The Department of Basic Education was recently asked what it is doing to encourage learners who have dropped out of schools to re-enter the system and complete their matric qualification. The department revealed several strategies aimed at encouraging these learners.

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