Department Unsure About Dropout Rate

Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga said this year the department has the largest number of candidates who will sit to write the exam. More than 1 million candidates will be writing the exam. 

Mhlanga said it is difficult to confirm just how many learners have dropped out because many learners are studying from home. He said the department would only know how many learners have dropped out once the exams have been written. 

“It’s difficult with matric because people register at the beginning of the year and then they sit at home, study and then when the exam comes they come to write the examination so it’s very difficult for one to say this person has dropped out,”

More invigilators and markers have been employed this year to handle the number of candidates who will be writing. The department will also be using more exam venues nationwide.

“Covid-19 circumstances have really forced us to expand the system in every possible way...When it comes to marking, that will also happen over a much longer period,”

The department had to postpone May/June exams to November because of the lockdown which limited the movement of people. 

“We now have a combined exam. Of those that are currently in grade 12 this year plus those that had written matric before and didn’t pass and are now rewriting. So we’ve had to do both exams as one, in one sitting, same venues,”

This is why the department usually sees an increase in the number of learners who write supplementary exams in May/June.

Mhlanga said the department is confident that learners are prepared to write exams. He has been visiting camps and monitoring weekend classes for matric learners. 

The Gauteng Spokesperson for the education department, Steve Mabona said the province has sent 10 000 learners to camps.

These learners are learners who didn't get good results in their preliminary exams. 

Many of the learners at the camps have marks that put them in the level 2 category.

"It's quite concerning because when you are at level 2, you are on the borderline of failing so that's why we felt that we need to make sure that we go and polish on whatever that we can utilising this last week." said Mabona. 

Mhlanga has both encouraged learners to focus on studying and not get distracted. 

He said If learners test positive 10 days before exams begin or miss an exam because of Covid-19, they will only get a chance to rewrite next year in May/June.

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