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Some Matrics Won't Be Allowed To Write This Year

Some matric learners might not be able to write their final exams this year. This is according to new exam protocol introduced by the Department of Basic Education. More than 1 million candidates are expected to write the final exam.

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The Department said learners will not be allowed to write if they test positive for Covid-19. There have been arguments that this will encourage learners and parents to not disclose their test results if they test positive.

This could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases which could be disastrous for the department. 

Earlier this month, the department said learners who are sick or showing symptoms of Covid-19 will not be allowed to write the final exams this year. Instead, they learners will have to write supplementary exams next year.

Elijah Mhlanga, said the department can’t provide alternative exam venues for learners who test positive for Covid-19 because the department does not have the budget to accommodate these potential learners.

“We don’t know how many invigilators we’ll need. The examinations system is managed and planned based on certainty...This opens up a new avenue of uncertainty and a lot of anxiety for the system as a whole. That’s just on the administrative side.”

He said the department is aiming to protect learners who have not been infected from those who have already been infected.

“We need to align our planning and protocols to the national guidelines for people who have Covid-19. You need to quarantine and stay away from other people until you recover.”

Mhlanga has not only discouraged schools from hosting matric balls, but he has also discouraged learners from attending them. He argued that learners would be at risk when attending social gatherings and urged them to rather focus on school work. 

“There’s a mismatch when it comes to the priorities of people, and what is important.” he said. 

Candidates will have to be at the exam venue an hour and a half earlier in order for their temperatures to be scanned. This is in an effort to protect all candidates who will be writing exams.

Minister Angie Motshekga has wished learners good luck ahead of the start of their final exams on 5 November.

She assured learners that all has been done to make sure that all exam centres are safe ahead of the exams.

"Remain focused, I know you can make it. Good luck, revise and just get ready for your exams,” said Motshekga.  

The Department will be making use of churches and community halls as exam venues. These venues will have more space than school halls and will help limit the spread of the virus. 

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