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Umalusi Gives Go-Ahead For Matric Exams

The countdown is almost over, as learners will start writing their matric exams next week. The Department of Basic Education has spent much time preparing learners and making sure the exams follow Covid-19 protocol. 

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Umalusi, the Education Quality Assurance Council has given the go-ahead for schools to start the final matric exams. Learners are scheduled to start on November 5 with English Home Language and they will end their exams on 15 December. 

Umalusi CEO Dr Mafu Rakometsi said Covid-19 has put a strain on the education sector, which has had to adjust to the new normal. 

“This has undoubtedly put a strain on our systems, including Umalusi’s capacity to conduct quality assurance of assessment. However, with proper planning, we believe that the challenges presented by COVID-19 are not insurmountable,” said Rakometsi.

Despite the many difficulties that the department has faced this year, Umalusi will not be making the exams easier. 

"Umalusi does not advocate for the downgrading or trimming down of the quality of examinations. In particular, tinkering with the content of question papers – we do not support that line of thinking." said Rakometsi.

John Volmink, Umalusi Council Chairperson, said the exams took 18 months to set and it would take 18 more months for Umalusi to reset the exams.

Volmink said Umalusi could not afford to reset the exams in just a few months for the matric class of 2020. 

Rakometsi said Umalusi's main focus was to give learners enough support to make them feel prepared for their exams. 

Committee chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba has applauded the Department on the work it has done to make sure all grade 12 learners are ready to write the final exam. 

During a portfolio meeting, Mbinqo-Gigaba said the Department of Basic Education and Umalusi assured them that the class of 2020 has managed to cover the full curriculum ahead of exams. 

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

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