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Pretoria - The first day of matric exams went off without a hitch on Monday.
Candidates sat for the English paper 1 exam and music paper 1 theory.
Basic Education spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said: “I’m happy to announce that reports coming in from all provinces indicate a good start, free of incidents or irregularities.”
Gauteng Education spokesman Gershwin Chuenyane also said there were no problems in the province. “The first day went very well. There was no incident reported even in Bekkersdal.”
Schooling in Bekkersdal was affected by violent service delivery protests since last week. The Education Department organised a special residential camp outside the area for matric candidates.
There are 707 136 candidates registered for the exams at 6 699 examination centres across the country. There are 576 490 fulltime and 130 646 part-time candidates.
Some centres are more secure than others. Minister of Correctional Services Sbu Ndebele wished inmates well for the exams.
“With the examinations commencing… we want to wish inmates writing their Grade 12 exams every success in their efforts to empower, and improve, their lives. Prisons are now correctional centres of rehabilitation.
“Offenders are given new hope, and encouragement, to adopt a lifestyle that will result in a second chance towards becoming ideal citizens..”
Last year inmates achieved a 79.25 percent pass rate compared to 68.06 percent in 2011. The best performing inmate, Chris Phumulani Mazibuko, from Usethubeni Youth School, obtained five distinctions.
Basic Education portfolio committee chairwoman Hope Malgas said she hoped that “the class of 2013 could emulate and even surpass the achievements of their predecessors, who over the past five years had shown a steady and consistent increase in the matric pass rate”.
Last year’s pass rate was 75.7 percent.
On Tuesday candidates were set to write accounting, Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa and Ndebele home paper 1.