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Fears Of Loadshedding As Matric Exams Draw Close

The Western Cape Education Department fears loadshedding could be a problem, as many matric learners begin their final exams. Eskom had blackouts last year during exam season, which affected many learners.

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Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has asked Eskom to make sure that learners have electricity during the exam season. According to Schaffer, the Department of Basic Education has been in talks with Eskom.

The province saw 9 000 learners complete their computer applications technology (CAT) practical exam on Wednesday, while 854 learners are expected to complete their information technology (IT) practical exam today.

“I urge Eskom to put contingency measures in place to avoid a repeat of last year’s disruption. Our matrics have been through enough this year - it is not fair to cause them more anxiety.”

She said the exams team would be keeping a close eye on Eskom. In the event of loadshedding during an exam, schools would have to follow standard protocol.

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga  said the department always makes an effort to be in talks with Eskom during this time of the year in an effort to avoid power outages.

Mhlanga said problems would arise if the demand for electricity is higher than the supply.

Eskom said although it does everything in its power to avoid loadshedding, loadshedding could remain a possibility if the electricity system is compromised.  

"Should load shedding be expected, Eskom will make every effort to provide the department with timeous notification so that contingency plans can be acted upon," Eskom said.

National Association of School Governing Bodies general-secretary Matakanya Matakanye said all schools should be supplied with generators. 

“The education minister must have a conversation with the minister of energy to hatch a plan on how to save the exams without disruptions. Eskom must save enough energy now for exams.”

Eskom said it has kept storage dam levels topped up in an effort to give the electricity system enough support to keep the power on while learners write their exams.

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