Home News It’s all systems go for NC matric exams

It’s all systems go for NC matric exams

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The final examinations for the matric class of 2020 start on Thursday, November 5 with English Paper 1

File picture: Pexels

THE MATRIC class of 2020 will start their final examinations on Thursday, November 5, starting with English Paper 1.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said that while the coronavirus pandemic had affected all marking and examination centres, the department had put all the necessary plans in place to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines and regulations, including social distancing and hygiene practices.

The national Department of Basic Education has stated that just over one million candidates throughout the country are expected to sit for the Senior Certificate (SC) and the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations from November 5 until December 15.

The head of communication at the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, indicated that while the final exams would be taking place in an “abnormal context”, the Class of 2020 would be subjected to the same high quality of examination as previous years.

“The department has not made any changes to the exam papers, which were already set in 2019,” said Mhlanga.

“The state of readiness to write the 2020 examinations is predicated on a number of factors beyond the normal indicators of system readiness. The sector has had to double its efforts to ensure that the Class of 2020, despite the disruptions of the academic year, are fully prepared for this examination.”

Mhlanga said that social distancing would be reduced to one metre to assist with space provision at examination centres.

“Provinces have completed the audit of examination centres. Centres have been categorised according to risk profile.”

He said any pupil who had a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius would be required to write their exams in isolation.

“After writing they will be referred for medical attention.The condition of such learners will be closely monitored in subsequent examinations.”

Mhlanga added that additional exam centres were identified to accommodate the increased number of candidates for the combined examinations in some provincial education departments.

“The designated centres will mainly be used for the Senior Certificate and part-time candidates, while NSC full-time candidates will write at their schools. Both public and independent centres have been audited to ascertain the risk profile of the centre and compliance to Covid-19 protocols. Monitoring of the centre will be based on the risk profile of the centre.”

He stated that all chief invigilators and invigilators had completed training on adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

Mhlaungu added that all provinces have identified the required number of marking centres to accommodate all markers for the combined examinations.

“All provinces have completed the marker selection process and are currently managing the marking of subjects where shortages of markers have been identified.”

He said a plan for the marking guidelines standardisation meetings had been developed with the face-to-face and virtual modalities that would be used.

“The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) also participates in these meetings to ensure that the marking guideline complies with the standard of the question paper.”

Mhlanga indicated that daily reports would be submitted to the Department of Basic Education during the writing period.

“Provinces are expected to submit the final irregularity reports on or before Monday, January 25, 2021. The Department of Basic Education will deploy part-time monitors to monitor the writing and distribution chain of question papers. Part-time monitors will also monitor the marking of the exams. The department will also make use of online monitoring of the examinations.”

He added that director-general Mathanzima Mweli had monitored the provision of water and sanitation and pupil transport and that education staff and pupil orientation was in place at schools in all nine provinces.

“Virtual meetings were held to monitor and assess the provision of basic sanitation and hygiene practices, school nutrition, Covid-19 essentials, special schools and psychosocial support as well as curriculum and assessment progress.

“In addition, Mweli conducted visits to over 150 matric weekend camps across the country.”

Mhlanga stated that due to the “unprecedented loss of academic time” as a result of Covid-19, extra pupil support was provided, including supplementary material, vacation classes, after-school programmes, teacher content training, placement of volunteer teachers, as well as alternative ways of grouping and teaching learners.

“A strong emphasis was placed on providing psychosocial support for pupils and teachers, curriculum coverage monitoring, extra school-based tuition such as morning or afternoon and weekend classes, teacher development related to pedagogy and content, information communication technology utilisation in the form of television, radio, online and web-based platforms, peer-led study groups and the provision of additional learner-teacher support material.”